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Collateral Damage

The Influence of Political Rhetoric on the Incorporation of Second-Generation Americans

Subjects: Media Studies, Women's Studies, Political Science
Paperback : 9780472055814, 180 pages, 31 figures, 23 tables, 6 x 9, February 2023
Hardcover : 9780472075812, 180 pages, 31 figures, 23 tables, 6 x 9, February 2023
Open Access : 9780472903139, 180 pages, 31 figures, 23 tables, 6 x 9, February 2023
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Anti-immigration rhetoric negatively affects second generation Americans

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. A Theory of Collateral Damage in Political Communication
3. Conditions Necessary for Collateral Damage
4. Trump Rhetorical Analysis
5. Rhetoric and Attitudes towards America
6. Rhetoric and Attitudes towards the Republican Party and Donald Trump
7. Disaggregating the Attitudes of Second-Generation Americans
8. Conclusion
9. Appendix
10. Index


Collateral Damage provides an overview of how political communication influences the process of incorporation with the broad society as well as its political parties. Sean Richey shows that how politicians talk about immigrants affects how their children perceive America and their feelings about the nation. These perceptions and feelings in turn greatly influence the children’s desire to incorporate into American political society. He also shows that regardless of a speaker’s intended outcome, what is said can still have a deleterious effect on incorporation desire, a communicative process that he terms “collateral damage.” Richey uses new experimental and survey evidence, as well as the rhetoric of Donald Trump as a test case, to examine how anti-immigration communication influences the incorporation of the children of immigrants.

Sean Richey is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Georgia State University.

“Debates about immigrant incorporation have taken center stage in America in recent decades. But as this vital research shows, those debates themselves can influence immigrants’ children—anti-immigrant rhetoric weakens the second generation’s expressions of patriotism and attachments to the U.S. and the Republican Party. A cutting-edge study of a critical topic.”
—Daniel Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania

- Daniel Hopkins