Speaking Respect, Respecting Speech

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Overview


The feminist campaign against pornography, the furor over a racial epithet in the O. J. Simpson trial, and Iran's continuing threat to kill Salman Rushdie exemplify the intense passions aroused by hurtful speech. Richard Abel offers an original framework for understanding and attempting to resolve these pervasive and intractable conflicts. Drawing on sociological theories of symbolic politics, he views such confrontations as struggles for respect among status categories defined by nationality, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, and physical difference. Abel convincingly exposes the inadequacies of the conventional responses to speech: absolutist civil libertarianism and enthusiastic state regulation. Instead, he argues, only apologies exchanged within the communities that construct collective identities can readjust social standing damaged by hurtful words and images. In recasting the problem in terms of equalizing cultural capital, Abel opens a new pathway through the wrongs and rights of speech.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Abel (law, UCLA) makes an impassioned case for why respect is at the center of social conflict and what can be done about it. He constructs a framework for understanding and resolving such conflicts, first identifying the demand for respect as the common theme in the feminist critique of pornography, responses to racial hatred, and the furor over . He then applies a theory of status politics to controversies such as disputes over holidays and street names and the displacement of ancestral relics. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226000572
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface
1: Fighting Words
2: Pornography, Racial Hatred, and Blasphemy
3: Theorizing the Contest
4: The Politics of Respect
5: The Poverty of Civil Libertarianism
6: The Excesses of State Regulation
7: Taking Sides
Notes
References
Index
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