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The Averaged American Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public (Paperback)

Author:  Sarah E. Igo
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The Averaged American Igo, Sarah E.                            1 of 1
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Product Details:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0674027426
ISBN-13: 9780674027428
Sku: 206601361
Publish Date: 4/1/2008
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5.25L x 1T
Pages:  398
Age Range:  NA
 
From the Publisher:

Americans today “know” that a majority of the population supports the death penalty, that half of all marriages end in divorce, and that four out of five prefer a particular brand of toothpaste. Through statistics like these, we feel that we understand our fellow citizens. But remarkably, such data—now woven into our social fabric—became common currency only in the last century. Sarah Igo tells the story, for the first time, of how opinion polls, man-in-the-street interviews, sex surveys, community studies, and consumer research transformed the United States public.

Igo argues that modern surveys, from the Middletown studies to the Gallup Poll and the Kinsey Reports, projected new visions of the nation: authoritative accounts of majorities and minorities, the mainstream and the marginal. They also infiltrated the lives of those who opened their doors to pollsters, or measured their habits and beliefs against statistics culled from strangers. Survey data underwrote categories as abstract as “the average American” and as intimate as the sexual self.

With a bold and sophisticated analysis, Igo demonstrates the power of scientific surveys to shape Americans’ sense of themselves as individuals, members of communities, and citizens of a nation. Tracing how ordinary people argued about and adapted to a public awash in aggregate data, she reveals how survey techniques and findings became the vocabulary of mass society—and essential to understanding who we, as modern Americans, think we are.

Praise

"Igo brings historical perspective and a critical eye to surveys and the creation of the notion of a mass public." - Vanessa Bush 12/01/2006

"Briskly written, forcefully argued and broad in scope, THE AVERAGED AMERICAN falls into a category occupied by works like Paul Starr's SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN MEDICINE (1982) and Laura Thatcher Ulrich's MIDWIFE'S TALES (1990), Pulitzer Prize-winning books by academics whose reach extended beyond the ivory tower." - Scott Stossel 01/21/2007

Product Attributes
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0398
Product attributePublisher:   Harvard University Press
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