Creatures of Politics

Creatures of Politics : Media, Message, and the American Presidency

3.66 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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It's a common complaint that a presidential candidate's style matters more than substance and that the issues have been eclipsed by mass-media-fueled obsession with a candidate's every slip, gaffe, and peccadillo. This book explores political communication in American presidential politics, focusing on what political insiders call "message." Message, Michael Lempert and Michael Silverstein argue, is not simply an individual's positions on the issues but the craft used to fashion the creature the public sees as the candidate. Lempert and Silverstein examine some of the revelatory moments in debates, political ads, interviews, speeches, and talk shows to explain how these political creations come to have a life of their own. From the pandering "Flip-Flopper" to the self-reliant "Maverick," the authors demonstrate how these figures are fashioned out of the verbal, gestural, sartorial, behavioral-as well as linguistic-matter that comprises political more

Product details

  • Paperback | 284 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 24 b&w illus.
  • 0253007526
  • 9780253007520
  • 2,052,906

Review quote

...Very few scholars can match [the authors'] detailed analysis of political and media discourse. The authors illuminate the subtle, multimodal, and intertextual mechanisms by which messages are constructed. Those who read their work will learn much about the semiotics of presidential campaigns as well as the cultural expectations that regulate and naturalize our electoral character contests. * Presidential Studies Quarterly * [Creatures of Politics] cover[s] different aspects of messaging with interesting discussions, and provides[s] new ways of thinking about campaign coverage. * Foreword Reviews * A quirky, sharp and depressing analysis of the current state of campaigning. * Kirkus Reviews * The authors draw on findings from electoral politics, the mass media and linguistic anthropology to analyse political communications, exploring how the 'messages' of presidential candidates are crafted not only through their platforms, but through verbal, sartorial, gestural, behavioural and linguistic cues. * Survival * [Creatures of Politics] makes for a fascinating read and an illuminating look into the complex realm of political rhetoric. * Publishers Weekly *show more

About Michael Lempert

Michael Lempert is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and author of Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery.Michael Silverstein is Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology and in the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His published works include Talking Politics: The Substance of Style from Abe to "W."show more

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: Message is the Medium2. Getting it Ju:::st Right3. Addressing "The Issues" 4. Ethnoblooperology5. Unflipping the Flop6. The Message in Hand7. What Goes more

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6 ratings
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4 50% (3)
3 17% (1)
2 17% (1)
1 0% (0)
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