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|Title:||The Identity of Power: An Analysis of the Internal Politics of the National Rifle Association|
|Abstract:||This thesis investigates the politics of pro-gun activism in the United States. Within this arena, the media often portrays the National Rifle Association (NRA) as having significant electoral and policy influence. Using a mixed methods approach—combining elite interviews, an original survey experiment, and content analyses of NRA member magazines since 1923—I depict a more nuanced account of gun politics in America. Most fundamentally, I show that the NRA, and gun politics more broadly, is a grassroots movement, rather than a top-down elite manipulation of the political system. Importantly, I demonstrate that a) members' opinions can influence the organization, b) identity politics of whiteness and Christianity—an understudied area—can have significant and large effects on supporting NRA agenda items that oppose gun control, and c) strategic information transmission by NRA elites can, in limited circumstances, influence vote choice, though this is also mediated by the influence of identity. These findings have implications for theories of interest group mobilization, political psychology, and political participation.|
|Type of Material:||Princeton University Senior Theses|
|Appears in Collections:||Politics, 1927-2021|
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