Making Sense of Public Opinion: American Discourses About Immigration and Social Programs

Making Sense of Public Opinion: American Discourses About Immigration and Social Programs

by Claudia Strauss
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Questions about immigration and social welfare programs raise the central issues of who belongs to a society and what its members deserve. Yet the opinions of the American public about these important issues seem contradictory and confused. Claudia Strauss explains why: public opinion on these issues and many others is formed not from liberal or conservative

…  See more details below

Overview

Questions about immigration and social welfare programs raise the central issues of who belongs to a society and what its members deserve. Yet the opinions of the American public about these important issues seem contradictory and confused. Claudia Strauss explains why: public opinion on these issues and many others is formed not from liberal or conservative ideologies but from diverse vernacular discourses that may not fit standard ideologies but are easy to remember and repeat. Drawing on interviews with people from various backgrounds, Strauss identifies and describes 59 conventional discourses about immigration and social welfare and demonstrates how we acquire conventional discourses from our opinion communities. Making Sense of Public Opinion: American Discourses about Immigration and Social Programs explains what conventional discourses are, how to study them, and why they are fundamental elements of public opinion and political culture.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Claudia Strauss’s new book resolves one of the central mysteries of public opinion: how can Americans hold contradictory views on salient issues like immigration? She uses the trope of conventional discourse to reveal the complexity of thinking that lies behind the simplistic renderings of public opinion that are too often extracted from surveys. The book is required reading for anyone who wants to think seriously about public opinion and the politics of policy options.” – Richard Alba, City University of New York

“Claudia Strauss provides a thorough discussion of the various immigration and social welfare discourses that shape public opinion. She shows convincingly that people draw on wide-ranging conventional discourses that they hear and read about in their daily lives, often resulting in seemingly contradictory positions held at the same time. A must-read for anyone interested in how public opinion is formed and how individuals chose among competing views on such important issues as immigration and social welfare.” – Leo Chavez, University of California, Irvine

“Scholars, pundits, and politicians have tried for decades to understand how people come to hold political opinions and preferences, why different people hold distinct views, and whether such views can be changed. I thought that I had read every conceivable explanation – ranging from deeply felt ideologies to apparently trivial variations in surveys’ question wording, and everything in between. But here is an innovative and exciting explanation; Claudia Strauss’s conception of conventional discourses cuts through an amazing amount of chatter and gives a new perspective on what citizens say, believe, and fear.” – Jennifer Hochschild, Harvard University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107019928
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/30/2012
Pages:
435
Product dimensions:
6.18(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.22(d)

Meet the Author

Claudia Strauss is Professor of Anthropology at Pitzer College. She is the author of A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 1997) with Naomi Quinn and co-editor of Human Motives and Cognitive Models (Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >