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

By Myra Marx Ferree; William Anthony Gamson et al. | Go to book overview

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

Using controversy over abortion as a lens through which to compare the political process and the 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.

Myra Marx Ferree is Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the co-author of Controversy and Coalition: The New Women's Movement Across Three Decades of Change (2000) and co-editor of Re-visioning Gender (1998).

William Anthony Gamson is Professor of Sociology and co-directs the Media Research and Action Project (MRAP) at Boston College. He is the author of Talking Politics (1992) and The Strategy of Social Protest (2nd edition, 1990).

Jürgen Gerhards is Professor of Sociology at the University of Leipzig. His many publications include Die Vermessung kultureller Unterschiede. Deutschland und USA im Vergleich (Measuring Cultural Differences: Germany and the U. S. in a Comparative Perspective) (2000).

Dieter Rucht is Professor of Sociology at the Social Science Research Center, Berlin. His many publications include Jugendkulturen, Politik und Protest (Youth Cultures, Politics, and Protest) (2000).

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Shaping Abortion Discourse: Democracy and the Public Sphere in Germany and the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Glossary xix
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Two Related Stories 3
  • Chapter Two - Historical Context 24
  • Chapter Three - Methods 45
  • Part II - Major Outcomes 59
  • Chapter Four - The Discursive Opportunity Structure 61
  • Chapter Five - Standing 86
  • Chapter Six - Framing 105
  • Part III - Representing Different Constituencies 129
  • Chapter Seven - Representing Women's Claims 131
  • Chapter Eight - Representing Religious Claims 154
  • Chapter Nine - Representing the Tradition of the Left 179
  • Part IV - The Quality of Abortion Discourse 201
  • Chapter Ten - Normative Criteria for the Public Sphere 205
  • Chapter Eleven - Measuring the Quality of Discourse 232
  • Chapter Twelve - Metatalk 255
  • Chapter Thirteen - Lessons for Democracy and the Public Sphere 286
  • Methodological Appendix 305
  • References 325
  • Index 339
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