The Performance of Politics : Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power
Jeffrey Alexander, a preeminent figure in social theory, offers here a new way of looking at democratic struggles for political power, discussing what happened, and why, during Barack Obama's remarkable run for president. Illustrated with vivid examples drawn from a range of media coverage, participant observation at a Camp Obama, and interviews with leading political journalists, Alexander argues that images, emotion, and performance are the central features of the battle for power. Winning depends on creating images so that candidates can become heroes. Demography, strategy, money, and issues matter, but power goes to the candidate with the most persuasive performances--the one whose carefully constructed heroic image resonates best with the audience of citizens. Though an untested Senator, Obama's moving performances succeeded in casting him as the hero and as the only candidate fit to lead in challenging times. As he sheds new light on modern politics, Alexander also conveys the immediacy and excitement of the final months of the historic 2008 presidential campaign.
- Hardback | 384 pages
- 162.56 x 236.22 x 38.1mm | 612.35g
- 01 Dec 2011
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
- 12 black and white illustration, 2 black and white halftones
Table of contents
PREFACE; PROLOGUE; 1. CIVIL SPHERE AND PUBLIC DRAMA; 2. BECOMING A COLLECTIVE REPRESENTATION; 3. SPIRIT OF THE GROUND GAME; 1. IMAGINING HEROES; 5. WORKING THE BINARIES; 6. WALKING THE BOUNDARIES; 7. CELEBRITY METAPHOR; 7. CELEBRITY METAPHOR; 8. PALIN EFFECT; 9. FINANCIAL CRISIS; EPILOGUE; NOTE ON CONCEPT AND METHOD; APPENDIX; ENDNOTES; INDEX
This is a very convincing resource and other sociologists should take note; sometimes the best sociology is that which reveals itself through brilliant analysis and storytelling - not through mere self-advertisment. * Andreas Hess, Times Higher Education Supplement *
About Jeffrey C. Alexander
Jeffrey C. Alexander is Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, and a Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology. He is also the author or editor of numerous books, including The Civil Sphere (OUP 2006) and The Meanings of Social Life (OUP 2003).