Avoiding Politics: How Americans Produce Apathy in Everyday Life

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Aug 13, 1998 - Social Science - 330 pages
0 Reviews
Nina Eliasoph's vivid portrait of American civic life reveals an intriguing culture of political avoidance. Open-ended political conversation among ordinary citizens is said to be the fount of democracy, but many Americans try hard to avoid appearing to care about politics. To discover how, where, and why Americans create this culture of avoidance, the author accompanied suburban volunteers, activists, and recreation club members for two and a half years, listening to them talk - and avoid talking - about the wider world, both within their groups and in their encounters with government, the media, and corporate authorities. This is a unique book which challenges received ideas about culture, power, and democracy, while exposing the hard work of producing apathy. Its clear exposition of the qualitative methods used also makes it exceptionally useful for students of political and cultural sociology, communications, and politics.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The mysterious shrinking circle of concern
1
Volunteers trying to make sense of the world
23
The institutional setting for volunteering the Caring Adult Network
47
Close to home and for the children trying really hard not to care
64
Humor nostalgia and commercial culture in the postmodern public sphere
85
Rituals of consumption
111
Creating ignorance and memorizing facts how Buffaloes understood politics
131
Strenuous disengagement and cynical chic solidarity
154
Personal passion and dry facts in the public sphere two sides of the same coin
188
Newspapers in the cycle of political evaporation
210
The evaporation of politics in the US public sphere
230
Class in the public sphere
264
Method
269
Notes
280
References
304
Index
320

Activists carving out a place in the public sphere for discussion
165

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information