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Deconstructing the Political Spectacle: Sex, Race, and Subjectivity in Public Response to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill "Sexual Harassment" Hearings

Dan Thomas, Craig McCoy and Allan McBride
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), pp. 699-720
DOI: 10.2307/2111571
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111571
Page Count: 22
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Deconstructing the Political Spectacle: Sex, Race, and Subjectivity in Public Response to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill
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Abstract

Extending Edelman's (1988) analysis of the constructed, phenomenal nature of political spectacles, this research employs Q-methodology as a means of interrogating the range of meanings implicit in public reaction to televised hearings held by the U.S. Senate in connection with Anita Hill's charges of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Results disclose a range of five alternative, subjective constructions of the same set of events. The accounts so revealed are examined in light of the diverse subjectivity they manifest as well as in terms of their ties to race and gender cleavages within the viewing audience. A concluding discussion makes note of the implications for the further analysis of politics as spectacle.

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