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The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship$
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Eugene Borgida, Christopher M Federico, and John L Sullivan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.001.0001

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Social Identity and Representations of Society and Politics in the News

Social Identity and Representations of Society and Politics in the News

(p.299) Chapter 13 Social Identity and Representations of Society and Politics in the News
The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship

W. Lance Bennett (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that a model of communication based on demographic-targeted marketing and strategic political communication has become a dominant force in the United States, and that this development has profound consequences for the patterns of social identification in late modern society. In particular, over the past twenty years television news content has trended toward fewer displays of collective representations, fewer positive portrayals of government, and fewer stories about policy issues. The move toward a more personalized and consumer-oriented news format, charged with negative emotional images, has numerous political implications. The chapter argues that changes in the media have engendered a sense of isolation, failing to connect citizens who might share a collective sense of concern and need for action. The implications of this dynamic are explored, as well as the potential for internet communication to correct for the shortcomings of mainstream news.

Keywords:   political communication, social identity, television news, media use, lifestyle politics

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