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Politics on DisplayYard Signs and the Politicization of Social Spaces$
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Todd Makse, Scott Minkoff, and Anand Sokhey

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190926311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190926311.001.0001

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Seeing Signs from Different Perspectives

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Politics on Display

Todd Makse

Scott Minkoff

Anand Sokhey

Oxford University Press

In this introductory chapter, we highlight the distinctiveness of the campaign yard sign as a form of political participation that is public, communicative, and confrontational. In contrast with the received wisdom of campaign professionals who are altogether skeptical about signs and a political science literature that has focused somewhat narrowly on the effectiveness of signs, we believe that yard signs are much more than campaign tools. We make the case for a comprehensive examination of yard signs as a political phenomenon, pointing to three attributes of yard signs that are individually interesting, but particularly compelling in combination: the symbolic aspect of signs as markers of partisan identity, the social aspect of signs as messages to neighbors and other audiences, and the spatial aspect of signs as information in social contexts.

Keywords:   yard signs, campaign effects, roll-off, campaign strategy, name recognition, social context, partisan identity, affective polarization, network analysis

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