Mobilizing Public Opinion: Black Insurgency and Racial Attitudes in the Civil Rights Era
What motivates us to change our opinions during times of political protest and social unrest? To investigate this question, Taeku Lee's smartly argued book looks to the critical struggle over the moral principles, group interests, and racial animosities that defined public support for racial policies during the civil rights movement, from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. Challenging the conventional view that public opinion is shaped by elites, Lee crafts an alternate account of the geographic, institutional, historical, and issue-specific contexts that form our political views. He finds that grassroots organizations and local protests of ordinary people pushed demands for social change into the consciousness of the general public. From there, Lee argues, these demands entered the policy agendas of political elites. Evidence from multiple sources including survey data, media coverage, historical accounts, and presidential archives animate his argument.
Ultimately, Mobilizing Public Opinion is a timely, cautionary tale about how we view public opinion and a compelling testament to the potential power of ordinary citizens.
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ONE Elite Opinion Theory and Activated Mass Opinion
TWO Black Insurgency and the Dynamics of Mass Opinion
THREE The Sovereign Status of Survey Data
FOUR Constituency Mail as Public Opinion
FIVE The Racial Regional and Organizational Bases of Mass Activation
SIX Contested Meanings and Movement Agency
SEVEN Two Nations Separate Grooves
APPENDIX ONE Question WordingScales and Coding of Variables in Survey Analysis
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activated mass opinion African Americans black insurgency Carmines and Stimson’s chapter citizens civil rights movement cognitive conﬂict constituency mail contexts correspondents counterelite counterpublic critical deﬁned democracy desegregation dynamics election elite opinion theories elite theory example expression ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁndings ﬁrst group-based ideological distance individual’s inﬂuence inﬂuences on mass institutional issue position issue-speciﬁc John Zaller letter-writing Little Rock crisis mass activation mass public measure media coverage ment mobilization Montgomery bus boycott movement activism movement activists movement-based NAACP Negro notes Ofﬁce ofﬁcials one’s opinion polls opinion research ordinary individuals organizations particular partisan partisanship perceived proximity percent of letters political actors political elites predispositions president presidential public opinion race racial attitudes racial equality racially liberal references reﬂect response rights and racial role school desegregation Selma signiﬁcant social movements South southern whites speciﬁc Stimson survey data survey research tion Truman V. O. Key voice voting welfare liberalism white Americans Zaller