Brian F. Harrison
and Melissa R. Michelson
's, Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights
(Oxford University Press, 2017) is a broad interrogation of the way that public opinion is formed (or reformed) and activated, and specifically focuses on what transpired over the past fifteen years that shifted attitudes around the issue of LGBT rights. Grounded in multiple dimensions of Political Science, Political Psychology, Political Theory, Communications Studies, and LGBT Studies, Harrison and Michelson examine, through randomized experiments done in collaboration with a variety of LGBT advocacy groups, their theory of dissonant identity priming. This theory, as they note in their work, provides an understanding of the shift in acceptance of LGBT rights. The book explores the experiments that were done across the United States to test the hypothesis and determine the validity of the theory. Following the discussion of the theory itself, the grounding in political science, political psychology and political communications, and the experiment, the book also discusses how the information learned through the experiments may be put to use in politics. The book speaks to political science scholars and researchers while also addressing pracademics, activists, and advocacy groups. The authors also argue that Political Science, as a discipline, has come late to the understanding and incorporation of LBGT Studies as a legitimate dimension of the political science discipline, noting that rights of citizens denied or abrogated because of sexual orientation are still rights denied, and positioning their research within the mainstream of political science while integrating the study of rights of a group that has often been on the edges of political science scholarship.