Chapter

Talking Politics in a Context of Understanding

in Talking about Politics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780226872186
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226872216 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226872216.003.0005
Talking Politics in a Context of Understanding

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This chapter analyzes how the social identities communicated in group contexts are used by the members of the group to talk about politics. Data from the participant observations show how groups use these identities as tools of understanding and how these processes vary across group conditions. In a group in which the participants regularly communicate about shared social identities, the perspectives informed by these identities operate to suggest and regulate the appropriate categories for interpreting public affairs. In contexts in which there is no strong sense of shared identity, individuals rely on their own social identities to distinguish their views from those of others. With the use of national sample survey data and previous studies using participant observation, the chapter generalizes the claim that participating in associations characterized by perceptions of likeness enables people to think about politics using the lens of social identity.

Keywords: social identity; politics; participant observations; group conditions; shared identities; national sample survey

Chapter.  15180 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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