I’m on the American Political Science Association Political Communication Section’s award committee again (together with Markus Prior and Holli Semetko) for the Murray Edelman Distinguished Career Award, which recognizes a lifetime contribution to the study of Political Communication.
Email me if you have candidates in mind (deadline March 1). The award will be given at APSA 2019.
Previous recipients include Gladys Lang and Kurt Lang, Elihu Katz, Michael Schudson, Lance Bennett, Jay Blumler, Russ Neuman, Diana Mutz, Dan Hallin, Gadi Wolfsfeld, and many others I and so many fellows scholars have learned so much from.
Below is the text I used when promoting the call for nominations in 2017, posted again here for good measure.
“[The Distinguished Career award is] named after Murray Edelman, an impressive and idiosyncratic figure in our field. I’m glad political communication recognize the importance of people like Edelman who do things differently. As the NYTimes noted in his obituary, “Edelman’s highly subjective analytic style put him at variance with the prevailing orthodoxy in contemporary American political science.”
“At variance” — that’s putting it mildly.Not many political scientists would begin a book the way he begun his 1971 book Politics as Symbolic Action:
Political history is largely an account of mass violence and of the expenditure of vast resources to cope with mythical fears and hopes.
For all the shortcomings (and I think there are many) of his strand of “post-modern political science” inspired by continental philosophy and older strands of symbolic interactionism, his attention to symbols, meanings, and performance is arguably as relevant today as ever, and perhaps more so than the paradigm Edelman challenged during his lifetime.
As the NYT put it: “Known as rational choice theory, this holds that political actors make rational decisions after weighing all the pros and cons.“ Not quite how I’d describe recent political events.”