ZENAF Arbeits- und Forschungsberichte : (ZAF)
- 2007, 1
"Voto por voto, casilla por casilla?" : Democratic consolidation, political intermediation, and the Mexican election of 2006
- After he had only tightly lost the election in July 2006, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his Coalición claimed fraud and asserted that unfair conditions during the campaign had diminished his chances to win the presidency. The paper investigates this latter allegation centering on a perceived campaign of hate, unequal access to campaign resources and malicious treatment by the mass media. It further analyzes the mass media’s performance during the conflictual post electoral period until the final decision of the Federal Electoral Tribunal on September 5th, 2006. While the media’s performance during the campaign tells us about their compliance with fair media coverage mechanisms that have been implemented by electoral reforms in the 1990s, the mass media is uncontained by such measures after the election. Thus, their mode of coverage of the postelectoral conflicts allows us to “test” the mass media’s transformation to a more unbiased, social responsible “fourth estate”. Finally the paper scrutinizes whether the claims of fraud and the protests by the leftist movement resulted in lower levels of institutional trust and democratic support. The analysis of the media performance is based on data provided by the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). Its Media Monitor encompassed more than 150 TV stations, 240 radio stations and 200 press publications. However, there is no comparable data available for the postelectoral period. Interviews with Mexican media experts, which the author has conducted during the postelectoral period, serve as empirical basis for the second part. Data on the public opinions and attitudes of Mexican citizens are taken from the 2007 Latinobarometro, the 2006 Encuesta Nacional and several polls conducted by Grupo Reforma. The results do not support López Obradors notions. Even though a strong party bias is characteristic of the Mexican media system, all findings hint at a continuity of balanced campaign coverage and fair access to mass media publicity. Coverage during the postelectoral period was more polarized, yet both sides remained at least partially open for oppositional views. The claims of fraud, mass protest mobilization and anti-institutional discourse by Lopez Obrador’s leftist movement seem not to have caused significant loss in institutional trust, support of and satisfaction with democracy, even though these levels remain quite low.
- 2006, 1
Religion, the Cold War State, and the Resurgence of Evangelicalism in the US, 1942 - 1990
Axel R. Schäfer
- Although many observers consider the Bush administration’s “faith-based initiative” a unique breach in the wall of separation between church and state, close ties between the federal government and religious agencies are no novelty in the history of American public policy. Since the end of the Second World War, billions of dollars of public funds have been made available to religiously-affiliated hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, and social services - institutions which were regarded as vital to Cold War preparedness. By the same token, government use of religious foreign aid agencies, the donation of surplus land and military facilities to religious charities, and the funding of the chaplaincy in the armed forces have undergirded Cold War foreign policy goals. Based on the principle of subsidiarity, post-war public policy thus integrated religious groups into the framework of the welfare and national security state in ways which underwrote both the expansion of the federal government and the growth of religious agencies. Crucially, public funding relations involved not only mainline Protestant, Jewish and Catholic organizations, but also white evangelicals, who had traditionally been the most outspoken opponents of closer ties between church and state. Cold War Anti-Communism, the fear of Catholic or secularist control of public funds, and pragmatic considerations, however, ushered in the gradual revision of their separatist views. Ironically, the programs of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, so vilified by the Christian Right, pioneered many of the funding streams most beneficial to evangelical providers. Considering that since 1945 the sprawling and loosely organized evangelical movement has become the largest single religious faction in the US, and that conservative Protestants now form the most strongly Republican group in the religious spectrum, these findings are of particular importance. They suggest that Cold War state-building and the resurgence of Evangelicalism mutually reinforced each other in ways which have been largely ignored by scholarship on conservatism and its focus on the “backlash” against the political and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. Based on newly accessible archival materials and a comprehensive review of secondary literature, this paper suggests that the institutional and ideological ties between evangelicals and the state, which developed in the aftermath of the Second World War, are as important in understanding the political mobilization of conservative Protestants as the more recent “culture war” sentiments.
- 2003, 2 a
“Too close to call” : CNN's politics of captions in the coverage of the Florida Recount
- Proceeding chronologically in terms of the events covered, Raimund Schieß in his paper „Too close to call: CNN’s politics of captions in the coverage of the Florida Recount“ focusses on Nov. 11, 2000, when the Bush campaign applied to Miami Federal Court to stop the manual recount of ballots which had been started in some counties. The paper studies the discursive practices employed by the CNN journalists to construct a particular version of the events, focussing on captions, i.e. the lines of text inserted at the bottom of the tv screen, and on the way in which they interact with the other verbal and visual components of the television text. Raimund Schieß concludes that captions, far beyond providing mere details of a speech event (who is talking to whom about what, where and when), are used to select, to highlight and hide, and thus to invite a preferred interpretation of the event. He is also able to show that captions are often employed to exploit a story’s potential for drama and sensation. His detailed micro-analysis of the verbal and visual dimensions of the television text is supported by careful documentation of the data, either through screen shots or via transcriptions of the stretches of broadcast discussed.
California automobile tourism and consumer culture in American literature : 1916 to 1939
- This paper studies one of the earliest forms of modern consumer culture—the road book—in relation to one of the early utopias of modern consumption—California. Criticism has traditionally treated the road book as an extension of a loosely defined transcendentalist project, where drivers take to the open road to “discover” themselves in nature. The determinate context, however, is corporate rather than literary-historical. The earliest road books were advertisements. Their itineraries linked up with other spatial technologies (e.g. the conveyor belts in automobile plants and modern highways), transforming space into a vast production and distribution network. Production and distribution intersected in California, the state with the most automobiles per capita and the destination of most early road trips.
The first section of the paper considers the journey to California from the perspective of Emily Post, who would later become a famous writer on etiquette. Post’s book is the narrative equivalent to the standardized roadside architecture, converting local difference into a tourist attraction, and local (especially ethnic) identity into a commodity. The next section considers the effects of commercial homogenization on gender, focusing on the moment when some women, taking the steering wheel, assumed agency as consumers. The primary texts here are some of the early novels of Sinclair Lewis, along with examples of sociology and advertising copy from the 1920s and 1930s. The final section analyzes the WPA Guidebook to California as a federal attempt to re-map corporate space—the space of tourist attractions and consumers—according to a progressive ideal. All three sections treat the tour form as a spatial and literary structure—a privileged topos, at once geographical and symbolic, where complex relations between identity and place are negotiated in the form of a journey.