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A Virtuous Circle


  • 38 b/w illus. 36 tables
  • Page extent: 420 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.79 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320/.01/4
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: JA85 .N67 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Communication in politics
    • Communication--Political aspects
    • Press and politics
    • Political parties

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521790154 | ISBN-10: 0521790158)

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$94.99 (P)

Is the process of political communications by the news media and by parties responsible for civic malaise? A Virtuous Circle sets out to challenge the conventional wisdom that it is. Based on a comparative examination of the role of the news media and parties in postindustrial societies, this study argues that rather than mistakenly "blaming the messenger" we need to understand and confront more deep-rooted flaws in the systems of representative democracy.


List of tables; List of figures; Preface; Part I. The News Media and Civic Malaise: 1. The news media and democracy; 2. Evaluating media performance; 3. Understanding political communications; Part II. Trends in Political Communication: 4. The decline of newspapers?; 5. The rise (and fall?) of the television age; 6. The emerging internet era; 7. The evolution of campaign communications; 8. The rise of the post-modern campaign?; Part III. The Impact on Democracy: 9. Negative news, negative public?; 10. Knows little? Information and choice; 11. Cares less? Cynical media, cynical public?; 12. Stays home? Political mobilization; 13. American exceptionalism?; 14. A virtuous circle?; Technical appendix; Notes; Select bibliography; Author index; Subject index.

Prize Winner

Winner, 2006 Doris Graber Book Award, Political Communication section, American Political Science Association


"Pippa Norris takes on the received wisdom about media effects and media-induced political malaise and concludes that media critics got it backwards. Blaming television and now the Internet is just picking an easy target. Norrisa careful analysis reveals a more complex evolution of behavioral and institutional change in the US and Europe. This important and controversial book may not end the debate, but it will significantly advance our understanding of how changing media and changing politics in advanced industrial societies are intertwined." - W. Russell Neuman, University of Pennsylvania

"This brilliantly argued, fact-filled book is a major contribution to the heated debate about mass media impact on civic life. Pippa Norris explodes pervasive myths with a powerful array of well-chosen data from Europe and the U.S. This may well be the death knell for media malaise theories and confirmation that ample use of news media remains a prescription for civic health." - Doris Graber, University of Illinois/Chicago

"This book boldly challenges much of the existing literature on the mediaas impact on political attitudes. While many scholars may not agree with the conclusions, this well written study opens up a major controversy and furthers the important critical debate on the mediaas political impact." - Holli A. Semetko, University of Amsterdam Professor of Audience and Public Opinion Research

"A Virtuous Circle is praiseworthy....This is a significant book. It is, to be sure, an academic's book." Columbia Journalism Review

"A Virtuous Circle is praiseworthy....This is a significant book. It is, to be sure, an academic's book." Columbia Journalism Review

"A clear-headed assessment of a central issue in political communication, and the volume should stand as the most comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of the data and phenomenon to date." Political Communication

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