Enemies old and new: Foreign policy, the media and public opinion in the Reagan/Bush era

1995 1995

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Abstract (summary)

This project sets out to show how quantitative research methods can be used to address important questions in critical/cultural theory. Traditionally, researchers in the field of cultural studies have rejected statistical modes of inquiry that are deemed incapable of dealing with the intricacies of language and ideology. This view, however, is based upon a misreading of the postmodern directive toward skepticism of "scientific" research and the mistaken view that quantitative methodologies imply allegiance to hegemonic ideological positions. Using data collected by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, I show how surveys can be used to resist many pervasive beliefs about US foreign policy and the role of the media in the cultivation of pubic opinion. This data can be manipulated to show, among other things, that despite the end of the Soviet Empire, elite and public circles alike continue to generally agree that the US should maintain an active role in world politics; that media professionals are not anti-establishment, often echoing opinions originating in government circles, and that greater levels of attention to the news media are consistent with greater support for the foreign policy initiatives of the day. Moreover, this information can be used to contextualize qualitative research projects using focus groups. Centering on the reception of coverage of the 1994 "intervasion" in Haiti, I show how the limitations placed on the audience's power to think critically about what they see can be explained by the broader attitudinal dynamics displayed in the Chicago data.

Indexing (details)

Mass media;
International law;
International relations;
American history
0708: Mass media
0616: International law
0616: International relations
0337: American history
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Bush administration; Reagan administration
Enemies old and new: Foreign policy, the media and public opinion in the Reagan/Bush era
Ruddock, Andrew David
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 56/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Morgan, Michael
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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