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Accountability in Social Interaction$
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Jeffrey D. Robinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210557.001.0001

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Political Positioning Sequences

Political Positioning Sequences

The Nexus of Politicians, Issue Positions, and the Sociopolitical Landscape

Chapter:
(p.140) (p.141) 5 Political Positioning Sequences
Source:
Accountability in Social Interaction
Author(s):

Steven E. Clayman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210557.003.0005

When journalists elicit opinion and policy pronouncements from politicians, this engages a two-dimensional struggle over (1) where the politician stands on the issue in question and (2) the legitimacy of that position and its supporter. Using data drawn from broadcast news interviews and news conferences, this chapter anatomizes the key features of political positioning questions and their sequelae. It also documents a tension surrounding relatively marginal or extreme views, which are oriented to as distinctively accountable, and are treated cautiously by politicians but are pursued vigorously by journalists. This analysis sheds light on how politicians balance appeals to centrist and partisan viewers, how journalists police the boundaries of legitimacy and the sociopolitical mainstream, and how both parties jointly enact and modify those selfsame boundaries.

Keywords:   conversation analysis, accountability, journalist, politician, broadcast news interview, political positioning, sociopolitical context, sequence, preference

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