The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public

The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public


Americans at the present time “know” majority of the inhabitants helps the loss of life penalty, that half all marriages result in divorce, and that 4 out of 5 favor a specific model of toothpaste. via facts like those, we believe that we comprehend our fellow electorate. yet remarkably, such data―now woven into our social fabric―became universal foreign money purely within the final century. Sarah Igo tells the tale, for the 1st time, of ways opinion polls, man-in-the-street interviews, intercourse surveys, group experiences, and shopper learn remodeled the U.S. public.

Igo argues that glossy surveys, from the Middletown experiences to the Gallup ballot and the Kinsey experiences, projected new visions of the state: authoritative bills of majorities and minorities, the mainstream and the marginal. additionally they infiltrated the lives of these who opened their doorways to pollsters, or measured their conduct and ideology opposed to facts culled from strangers. Survey information underwrote different types as summary as “the usual American” and as intimate because the sexual self.

With a daring and complex research, Igo demonstrates the ability of clinical surveys to form american citizens’ experience of themselves as contributors, individuals of groups, and electorate of a kingdom. Tracing how traditional humans argued approximately and tailored to a public awash in mixture information, she unearths how survey concepts and findings grew to become the vocabulary of mass society―and necessary to knowing who we, as sleek americans, imagine we are.

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