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Theocratic DemocracyThe Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism$
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Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199734863

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199734863.001.0001

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Methodology: How Information Was Collected

Methodology: How Information Was Collected

(p.31) 3 Methodology: How Information Was Collected
Theocratic Democracy

Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Oxford University Press

Taking Niklas Luhmann’s suggestion that understanding social systems requires that we examine communication systems, and based on contextual constructionism, this chapter explains why using the printed media as a main tool to understand a cultural conflict is an advantageous and persuasive methodology. The chapter discusses various alternative methods (e.g., ethnographies, police records, interviews, using informants) and points out that relying on the printed media offers clear benefits such as more information in an historical perspective, easy accessibility and cross checking. The chapter summarizes the advantages and shortcomings of using the media as compared to examining police records; examines the issue of falsification and reliability of journalists’ reports and surveys other relevant studies that used the media as a methodological tool. How the media data base for fifty years was created and used is explained and illustrated, as well as raising some potential criticisms.

Keywords:   dirty data, falsifications, media, newspapers, police

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