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Asymmetric Communication Ecologies and the Erosion of Civil Society in Wisconsin

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2022

Lewis A. Friedland
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Dhavan V. Shah
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Michael W. Wagner
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Katherine J. Cramer
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Chris Wells
Boston University
Jon Pevehouse
University of Wisconsin, Madison


Battleground models Wisconsin's contentious political communication ecology: the way that politics, social life, and communication intersect and create conditions of polarization and democratic decline. Drawing from 10 years of interviews, news and social media content, and state-wide surveys, we combine qualitative and computational analysis with time-series and multi-level modeling to study this hybrid communication system – an approach that yields unique insights about nationalization, social structure, conventional discourses, and the lifeworld. We explore these concepts through case studies of immigration, healthcare, and economic development, concluding that despite nationalization, distinct state-level effects vary by issue as partisan actors exert their discursive power.
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Online ISBN: 9781108946780
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication: 04 August 2022

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