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Talking about PoliticsInformal Groups and Social Identity in American Life$
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Katherine Cramer Walsh

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226872186

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226872216.001.0001

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the Social Practice of Informal Political Talk

the Social Practice of Informal Political Talk

(p.34) Chapter 3 the Social Practice of Informal Political Talk
Talking about Politics
University of Chicago Press

This chapter uses the observations of the men at the corner store and the women in the craft guild to provide a descriptive overview of the nature of their talk and demonstrate that this is a social behavior with political implications. It sets the stage for the heart of the empirical analysis in this study by providing the conceptual model derived through the combined methods of inductive observations and deductive survey analysis. In practice, what gets defined as a political conversation is itself a product of the interaction. The “Old Timer”s typically describe “politics” as consisting of elections, debates involving Democrats and Republicans, and occasionally elected officials carrying out their duties. They consider politics as controversy and the stuff of people who lack common sense (where “common” is defined by the way the “Old Timer”s think about the world). Specifically, talking about politics is “opinionated” talk; unless a person holds controversial opinions (opinions that diverge from their own), the conversation is not political.

Keywords:   informal talk, political talk, social behavior, inductive observation, Old Timers, opinions

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