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Apprehending Politics

News Media and Individual Political Development

Marco Calavita

Publication Year: 2005

This groundbreaking book examines the significance of the news media for the political beliefs and behavior of contemporary Americans. Relying on original, in-depth interviews with members of the group known as Generation X, Marco Calavita analyzes the memories and understandings of these individuals’ political development dating back to childhood. Specifically, he focuses on the developmental significance of news media engagement in the context of institutions and phenomena like family, peers, schooling, and popular culture. Calavita succeeds where others have failed at exploring the inevitably contextualized and ecological nature of individual political development, and the specific roles of news media in that development. Apprehending Politics illuminates the subtle but fundamental power of news media in who we are politically, and how we got that way.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Front Matter

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-

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Note

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pp. vi-

Portions of this book come from the transcripts of interviews the author conducted with fifteen “comtemporary Americans.” In the interest of authenticity, the interview passages...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

First and foremost, this book owes its existence to the fifteen people who agreed to talk with me for hours on end about their lives and about politics and news media. They were unfailingly accommodating and forthcoming when there was little pressing reason for them to be, other than their kindness...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-15

When Whitney, a 26-year-old Euro-American college graduate living in a small Midwestern town, told me that “crime among our adolescents” was one of the biggest problems facing...

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2. Contemporary American Political Culture and News Media

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pp. 17-55

Often left out of the exploration of how individual politics develop are the structural outlines of American political culture and news media that form the backdrop—or, more to the...

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3. Portraits of Individual Political Development

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pp. 57-126

The people I interviewed for this study were part of the same generation and shared the experience of at least some college education, but this was a diverse group. This was apparent in terms of: age (ranging from 22 to 33 years old as...

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4. The Ecology of Individual Political Development and News Media: Relationships, Institutions, and Culture

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pp. 127-188

This chapter details the relationships, institutions, and phenomena involved in individual political development, and how they share contexts and interact with news media engagement. In this discussion of the complex interrelationships—the ecology—of individual political...

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5. The Contours of Political Ideology and Orientation

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pp. 189-221

Do particular political ideologies and orientations predominate among college-educated Americans who have come of age over the last thirty-plus years? My study of these fifteen people, however...

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6. Conclusion: Recontextualizing Politics and News Media

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pp. 223-231

There is a blizzard of data presented in this book. As a qualitative study of individuals, based on in-depth interviews, this volume of data is to some extent an end in itself. One reason I wanted...

Appendices

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pp. 233-253

References

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pp. 255-274

Index

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pp. 275-285


E-ISBN-13: 9780791484081
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791462799
Print-ISBN-10: 079146279X

Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: SUNY series in Communication Studies
Series Editor Byline: Dudley D. Cahn

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Subject Headings

  • Press and politics -- United States.
  • Political socialization -- United States.
  • Journalism -- Social aspects -- United States.
  • Press and politics -- United States.
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