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

Part II
Major Outcomes

This part analyzes the different playing fields in Germany and the United States on which various collective actors attempt to shape the meaning of abortion and presents the results on our two major outcome variables: standing and framing. Chapter Four focuses on the playing fields themselves and looks at how the politics and culture of the two countries vary in ways that inevitably influence who receives standing and which frames are easy or difficult to express. We emphasize not only the formal institutional roles of churches and parties but also media expectations. Also, German political culture gives the state more generally accepted responsibility for the welfare and support for families.

Chapter Five looks at which actors receive standing in the mass media and how this has changed over time. Standing, or the ability to have one'sviews transmitted through the media, is a resource that is conferred more on political parties in Germany and shared more equally with social movements in the United States. This chapter compares the organization, resources, and media relations skills of similar groups of actors in each country as a way of understanding why some are more successful, even when recognizing that the playing field is more advantageous for some than for others.

Chapter Six provides an overview of the framing contest on abortion in the two countries and how the careers of different frames have changed over time. We see some differences that we would expect. The different framing by the courts is reflected in a more Fetal Life framing in the mass media discourse in Germany and a more Individual and State framing in U. S. media discourse. We also find some surprises–in particular, that the “clash of absolutes”is more evident in Germany, even though the politics of abortion is more tempered in many ways and unmarred by the wave of anti-abortion violence found in the United States.

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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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