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Exploring the Shifting Contours of Communication


Edited By Patricia Moy and Donald Matheson

This edited volume on voices arose from the 2018 International Communication Association conference in Prague, Czech Republic. The contributions examine the conference’s central theme from multiple epistemological approaches, a host of methodologies, and numerous levels of analysis. They reveal how studying voice—or the plurality of voices—illuminates the process by which it is fostered and/or constrained as well as the conditions under which it is expressed and/or stifled. More important, the study of voice sheds light on the process by which it impacts behaviors, defines relationships, influences policies, and shapes the world in which we live. In other words, studies of voice are not relegated to a few domains, but interface with myriad discourses, actors, processes, and outcomes.

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10. Voicing Voters’ Concerns? Examining 2018 Mixed-Gender Senate Candidates’ Issue Agendas (Lindsey Meeks)


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10. Voicing Voters’ Concerns? Examining 2018 Mixed-Gender Senate Candidates’ Issue Agendas


American women politicians have long argued that their presence in elected office carries distinct benefits in a representative democracy. In interviews with over three-quarters of the women serving in the 114th U.S. Congress, Dittmar, Sanbonmatsu, and Carroll (2018) found women politicians repeatedly emphasizing that by having a seat the table, they are better equipped to raise the voices and experiences of fellow women. Republican Representative Diane Black of Tennessee stated, “I believe that women look at issues differently than men do and that’s just the way we are. We come at things in a different way, and since 52% of the population is female it behooves us to make sure that we have a voice, a woman’s voice in the discussions” (Dittmar et al. 2018, 172). Democrat and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California echoed this sentiment, “It is really important for women in the country to see that someone who may have shared their experience—whether it is to be a working mom— … [has] a voice at the table” (Dittmar et al. 2018, 190). These quotes demonstrate how women politicians construct a link between descriptive representation—demographic composition of legislative bodies—and policy or substantive representation—representation of group interests in the policy-making process (Pitkin 1967). Women politicians assert that, based on their lived experiences as women, their presence in legislative bodies can translate...

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