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 III
Representing Different
Constituencies

This part explores the representation of the discursive interests of three major constituencies on the abortion issue. We examine who makes claims on behalf of each constituency – and their relative success in shaping abortion discourse. In Chapter Seven, we look at who attempts to represent women's claims. In both countries, there is an active women's movement that seeks to connect abortion rights to women's rights, but the movements differ in significant ways and have differential success. We examine both the voice that women have as speakers in the media discourse and the career of gendered frames sponsored by different mediators. We find that abortion is a more gender-polarized and gender-identified issue in Germany than in the United States, and has been from the very beginning of the period that we study.

Chapter Eight examines the nature of the religious constituency and the relative success of those promoting religious frames in shaping the abortion discourse. We particularly focus on the churches, active in both countries, and on the successful mobilization of the Christian Right constituency in the United States. U. S. speakers invoke religious pluralism and the diversity of moral values to legitimate choice, while German speakers assume a moral consensus from which they are more or less willing to countenance exceptions. There is also less ambivalence in Germany about the state as the guardian of morality and as a moral actor.

Chapter Nine considers the tradition of the left, a constituency that emphasizes inequality based on class, race, or ethnicity as well as gender and responds in terms of meeting needs and supporting autonomy for disadvantaged groups as well as making claims for social justice. We examine the impact of the would-be mediators of the left in shaping

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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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