Politics on Display: Yard Signs and the Politicization of Social Spaces

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Oxford University Press, Apr 5, 2019 - Political Science - 192 pages
Political yard signs are one of the most ubiquitous and conspicuous features of American political campaigns, yet they have received relatively little attention as a form of political communication or participation. In Politics on Display, Todd Makse, Scott L. Minkoff, and Anand E. Sokhey tackle this phenomenon to craft a larger argument about the politics of identity and space in contemporary America. Documenting political life in two suburban communities and a major metropolitan area, they use an unprecedented research design that leverages street-level observation of the placement of yard signs and neighborhood-specific survey research that delves into the attitudes, behavior, and social networks of residents. The authors then integrate these data into a geo-database that also includes demographic and election data. Supplemented by nationally-representative data sources, the book brings together insights from political communication, political psychology, and political geography. Against a backdrop of conflict and division, this book advances a new understanding of how citizens experience campaigns, why many still insist on airing their views in public, and what happens when social spaces become political spaces.
 

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Contents

Seeing Signs from Different Perspectives
1
Neighborhoods in the Spotlight
17
3 Who Puts Their Politics on Display?
43
Investigating Attitudes about Signs
60
How People Come to Display Signs
82
Analyzing Sign Displays in Neighborhood Space
100
Sign Displays for Down Ballot Candidates
124
Signs Perceptions and Neighborhood Social Interactions
146
9 A New Perspective on Political Participation and Communication
167
Appendix
179
Notes
199
Bibliography
205
Index
213
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About the author (2019)

Todd Makse is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University. His current research interests include professional backgrounds and expertise in state legislative policymaking, citizen perspectives on representation, and the transmission of information in political discussion networks. Scott L. Minkoff is Assistant Professor of Political Science at SUNY New Paltz where he studies American local politics and policy. His research focuses on how people and governments are impacted by the spaces that they occupy and emphasizes questions related to public goods provision and inequality. Much of his work involves the use of geographic information systems (GIS), mapping, point pattern analysis, and other tools for spatial analysis. Anand E. Sokhey is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He specializes in American politics, and his work examines the role that social influence plays in vote choice, political participation, and opinion formation. His current work intersects with scholarship on gender, religion and politics, and political psychology, and focuses on how formal and informal political conversations, interpersonal networks, and environments - whether defined in terms of organizations or geographic boundaries - independently and interactively shape behavior.

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