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 I
Introduction

The three chapters in Part I set the stage. Chapter One previews the two interwoven stories of the book. The first story is about the cultural contest in which abortion talk is shaped;the second is about whether the quality of abortion talk serves the needs of a democracy. This chapter also presents a way of thinking and a set of concepts for an analysis of discourse that can be applied to many other issues. In particular, we emphasize the way that groups work to frame issues to their advantage, attempting to mesh strategy with opportunity.

Chapter Two presents the historical context for understanding the contemporary debate on abortion in Germany and the United States. In Germany, unlike the United States, abortion has been a political issue since early in the twentieth century. Also, the highest constitutional courts in each country took different courses in their key abortion decisions in the early 1970s. The U. S. Court emphasized privacy as the central issue while the German Court emphasized the state'sresponsibility to protect life. These contrasts make the countries exceptionally well suited for our comparative study.

Chapter Three presents the nature of the data that we gathered in carrying out this research. General readers interested in the content of our argument may wish to skim or skip some of the discussion of the methodological issues that we confronted and how we resolved them.

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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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