Cover image for Speaking of abortion : television and authority in the lives of women
Speaking of abortion : television and authority in the lives of women
Press, Andrea Lee.
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Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxi, 202 pages ; 24 cm.
Introduction: speaking of abortion -- The classed discourse of abortion on prime-time television -- Reconciling faith and fact: the pro-life perspective -- Situating self and social authority: working-class pro-choice positions -- The shifting context of justification for choice among the middle class -- Another American dilemma: locating abortion on the political landscape.
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HQ767.5.U5 P73 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Over four years, Andrea Press and Elizabeth Cole watched television with women, visiting city houses, suburban subdivisions, modern condominiums, and public housing projects. They found that television depicts abortion as a problem for the poor and the working classes, and that viewers invariably referred to and abided by class when discussing abortion. Speaking of Abortion is an invaluable resource that allows us to hear how ordinary women discuss one of America's most volatile issues.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

In this interesting look at the highly divisive issue of abortion, ethnographers Press and Cole studied the nuances of pro-life and pro-choice positions held by women. The authors conducted 34 discussion groups in women's homes that elicited a broad range of opinions on abortion and reactions to the way television treats the subject. The authors note that previous studies have examined the opinions of activists. This book looks at more ordinary women who hold varied opinions but don't necessarily act on them in any organized way. These women tend to be more ambivalent than activists, with opinions based on personal experiences. The authors examine how personal opinions and media treatment of abortion are influenced by religious beliefs, education, and social status, noting the frequent portrayal on television of lower-income rather than middle-class women seeking abortions. The authors also acknowledge their own positions as middle-class feminists, one black (Cole), the other Jewish (Press), yet present balanced views on the most controversial issue facing women. --Vanessa Bush

Table of Contents

1 Introduction Speaking of Abortion
2 The Classed Discourse of Abortion on Prime-Time Television
3 Reconciling Faith and Fact The Pro-Life Perspective
4 Situating Self and Social Authority Working-Class Pro-Choice Positions
5 The Shifting Context of Justification for Choice Among the Middle Class
6 Another American Dilemma Locating Abortion on the Political Landscape
Appendix A The Ethnographic Focus Group
Appendix B Characteristics of the Groups