PLNU’s Linda Beail Co-Authors New Book on Sarah Palin

Date: 
Monday, November 5, 2012

After the significant campaigns of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in 2008, women are not center stage in the current election, but women voters remain a critical target for both campaigns. In her new book, Framing Sarah Palin: Pit Bulls, Puritans, and Politics, co-authored with Rhonda Kinney Longworth, Point Loma Nazarene University political science professor Linda Beail looks at what the frames applied to Palin during her campaign tell us about the state of American politics—and about the status of American women in politics in particular.
 
Palin’s 2008 vice presidential candidacy garnered tremendous levels of interest, polarizing the American public—both Democrats and Republicans alike. Using the notion of "framing" as a way of understanding political perception, the authors analyze the narratives told by and about Sarah Palin in the 2008 election – from beauty queen, maverick, faithful fundamentalist and post-feminist rolemodel to pit bull hockey mom, frontier woman, and political outsider. They discuss where those frames are rooted historically in popular and politicalculture, why they were selected, and the ways that the frames resonated with the electorate.
 
While many have wondered who Palin “really” is, trying to cut through the persona she projects and the one projected by the media, Beail and Longworth analyze why she touches such a nerve with the American electorate. Why does she ignite such passionate loyalty – and such loathing? How did her candidacy mobilize new parts of the electorate? What do the debates engendered by these images of Palin say about the current roles and power available to women in American society? What are the implications of her experience for future candidates, particularly women candidates, in American politics?
 
“We examine media and popular culture portrayals of Palin, looking at the implications for party and gender politics. The book also has a good examination of evangelicals in American politics,” said Beail.
 
Beail will be giving a lecture on the book on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 3:30-5 p.m. In addition to serving as political science professor, Beail is director of the Margaret Stevenson Center for Women’s Studies at PLNU.