Language, Symbolism, And Politics
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From the "telerhetoric" of 30-second "sound bites" that deliver campaign slogans to the legal rhetoric that shapes our notions of social roles and values, or the official rhetoric of bureaucracies that legitimizes social problems, our perceptions of political reality are determined by the language and symbolism of the institutions of our culture. In the words of Murray Edelman, we view politics as "a series of pictures in the mind, placed there by television news, newspapers, magazines, and discussions." In Language, Symbolism, and Politics, leading political scientists, lawyers, and philosophers explore some of the multiple roles that symbolism and language play in political life. Edelman's ideas inspire discussions of political organization, political symbolism, elections, public policy, political culture, and political philosophy. But these essays also extend Edelman's work to encompass contemporary efforts in structuralism, deconstruction, textual analysis, post-structuralism, critical theory, and neo-Marxism. That so many important political topics can be tied together with the help of Edelman's analysis of language and symbolism is not only a tribute to his work but also ample testimony to the central place of language and symbolism in politics.