Political Language

Political Language

Words That Succeed and Policies That Fail

1st Edition - October 28, 1977

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  • Author: Murray Edelman
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483269801

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Political Language: Words That Succeed and Policies That Fail deals with chronic inequalities of a smaller portion of the population getting more. The book discusses the persistence of poverty and greater inequalities in a democratic society such as the United States. The text reviews the chronic problems and the various beliefs found in American society, and also notes the general acceptance of the large differences in the quality of life of the people, which includes political power and autonomy. The book then defines perception of the political spectator and explains the linguistic generation of assumptions (taking for granted), linguistic reconstruction of facts (cover-ups), and the linguistic segmentation of politics (distinct from ordinary world). The text then emphasizes the language of inquiry, of authority, of participation, and of resistance as leading to free inquiry and experimentation or political loyalty. The selection can prove beneficial for political students, economists, educators, sociologists, and members of ministerial affairs related to population and economics.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword



    1 Chronic Problems, Banal Language, and Contradictory Beliefs

    The Acceptance of Inequality

    Banality and Anxiety

    Social Adjustment through Contradictory Beliefs

    Symbolic Evocation and Political Reality

    Multiple Realities as Threats

    The Focus on Official Language

    Rhetorical Evocations

    The Authority, Language, and Ideology of the Helping Professions

    2 Categorization, Perception, and Politics

    The Linguistic Structuring of Social Problems

    The Evocation of Mythical Populations as Reference Groups

    The Categorization of Enemies

    The Linguistic Generation of Assumptions

    The Linguistic Reconstruction of Facts

    The Linguistic Segmentation of the Political World

    Created Worlds

    3 National Crises and "Public Opinion" as Political Symbols

    The Political Uses of National Crises

    The Labeling of Crises

    Public Opinion

    4 The Political Language of the Helping Professions

    Therapy and Power

    The Formal Component in Professional Language

    Professional Imperialism

    "Helping" as a Political Symbol

    5 The Language of Bureaucracy

    The Political Setting of Bureaucracy

    Administrative Ineffectiveness: Clear and Problematic

    The Constriction of Administrative Staff

    Jurisdiction as a Déterrant to Effectiveness

    The Multiple Veto and Organizational Conservatism


    Selective Feedback

    Bureaucratic Language as Incantation


    6 The Language of Inquiry and the Language of Authority

    Formal Language

    Public Language

    The Empirical Combination of Formal and Public Languages

    Roles as Distinct from Human Beings

    Language Forms as Symbols

    7 The Language of Participation and the Language of Resistance

    Public and Private Issues

    Politicization as Co-optation

    Influence versus Formality

    The Uses of Disorder

    The Structuring of Perception through Politicization

    Intense Politicization

    Clarification and Blurring of Adversary Relations


    8 Political Constraint through Symbolic Reassurance

    The Generation of Belief and of Skepticism

    The Constriction of Perception

    The Political Viability of Unsuccessful Policies

    The Stultification of the Individual


Product details

  • No. of pages: 188
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1977
  • Published: October 28, 1977
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483269801

About the Author

Murray Edelman

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