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Shaping Abortion Discourse

Shaping Abortion Discourse
Democracy and the Public Sphere in Germany and the United States


Part of Communication, Society and Politics

Friedhelm Neidhardt
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  • Date Published: September 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521793841

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About the Authors
  • Using controversy over abortion as a lens through which to compare the political process and role of the media in these two very different democracies, this book examines the contest over meaning that is being waged by social movements, political parties, churches and other social actors. Abortion is a critical battleground for debates over social values in both countries, but the constitutional premises on which arguments rest differ, as do the strategies that movements and parties adopt and the opportunities for influence that are open to them. By examining how these debates are conducted and by whom in light of the normative claims made by democratic theorists, the book also offers a means of judging how well either country lives up to the ideals of democratic debate in practice.

    • Looks at abortion conflict comparatively (in Germany and the US) over a considerable period of time (1970–1994)
    • Places gender in relation to other political factors, and explains when and how gender becomes a political issue and women get more or less political voice
    • Shows how media practices lead to different kinds of political debates in each country
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'I recommend Shaping Abortion Discourse to others interested in finding new ways to question our assumptions about the role the media plays in democratic public life.' Mobilization

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521793841
    • length: 372 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 155 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Tables and figures
    Foreword Friedhelm Neidhardt
    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Two related stories
    2. Historical context
    3. Methods
    Part II. Major Outcomes:
    4. The discursive opportunity structure
    5. Standing
    6. Framing
    Part III. Representing Different Constituencies:
    7. Representing women's claims
    8. Representing religious claims
    9. Representing the tradition of the left
    Part IV. The Quality of Abortion Discourse:
    10. Normative criteria for the public sphere
    11. Measuring the quality of discourse
    12. Metatalk
    13. Lessons for democracy and the public sphere
    Methodological appendix

  • Authors

    Myra Marx Ferree, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    William Anthony Gamson, Boston College, Massachusetts

    Jürgen Gerhards, Universität Leipzig

    Dieter Rucht, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung


    Friedhelm Neidhardt

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