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    , " I Tl P viously he has lived in Israel andJon Sim ons is Senior Lecturer CntlCt ; ~ ? , p ; ~ t i (Routledge, 1995) , as we llthe US, He is th e author 0 d t a;1 as Philosophy and Social Criticism,as articles that have appeare, ,111 Journa,s h'\s also cont ributed chapters toSociety Clnd Space" and Polt,tlcal / tudl eft, State Unive rsity Press, \996) andFeminist Int erpretatlOlls o!.lv! lcheIMou ca,11 ( 1998) H is current research concernsReco llstitutill g Soc ial Cn ll clsm acml an, 'the nature of critica l politi ca l th eory,

    , ' , _ he University of East Anglia. He ha s writtenJohn Street is Reader III POitt lCS 3tf t I ' h ' Ma ss Media Politics Clud DemocracyI b k the most recent 0 W l lC IS , 0 d H ksevera 00 5 , d' f h C Jtbridge Compallion / 0 rop an oc(Palgrave, 200 I).; he a l ~ o c o - ; 0 r t ~ ~ on political analys is and popular(Cambridge University, ress, b 'f ' I ac roSS political, media and culturalculture ha ve appeared m a nUI l l er 0 Journa s,studies.

    . E' ent and Culture at the Inst itutek" L t re I II I nV lronmBronislaw Szcrszyns 1 . 15 chC u d P bl' Policy Lancaster University, He is thefo r Environment, Pllliosop y an U IN , d the Sacred ill the Global AgeI f TI S lisC/lion of Nature' attire a ll d .

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    MIIII" "WI 1111 III "IYIIIH, III 1111111(:,

    ,q l \ I t !WI1 1 .. III an :dl !> llIhulg lon1lx'titi on in which, as th e ce lebrity magazineI l t', 1I put It , 'G areth and Wi ll 's different styles, appe:lfances and pe rsonalitiesdnid\'d til\' natiun ' (a s 'limy and the other William [Hague] had conspi cuou sly1:1111 . .1 to do in thl' previous year). During th e final week , the two front111Il1ll'rS were sent on a a mock-political campaign, visit ing new spape r offices,In d hroadcasting studios, and diving into crowds from shiny battlebuses that':lITi,'d , Ioga ns such os VOTE WILL or VOTE GARETH. Established ce lebritil's Gl llll' out in fa vo ur of one or th e other, gai ning a litt le ex tra publicityfor thelllseives on the side. With some justice, Steve Anderson, lTV's newsllUltroll c r, suggested that Wes tminster still had a lot to learn from Pop Idol'stl'chniques of mass market ing and personality d ispb y,

    But we shou ld also notice that 'official' po litics ha s been catching up, blurrin g the boundaries and levelling the hierarchy be tween 'high ' political represl'ntat ion and ' low ' popula r entertainment. If manufact ured pop has adoptedsome of th e paraph ernalia and conventions of po li tica l elec tionee ring, politics has become more of a 'culture indust ry ', increas ingly resembling a talent

    or popu larity co ntest , where polling is as relentl ess ly con tinuous as inthe music and film charts, and star-gazing and infotainment have becomeequ ally ce ntral as the y are to the tabloids and the ce lebrity magazi nes. It ishnrdl y acc iden tal that political interest and electoral enthusiasm have generally pi cked up wh erever politics has attained a high leve l of drama, offeringspec tacular storyl in es ::lIld flamboyant personalities rathe r than ideologica lstlUlll' of th t.:: rences that separate politics from ente rtainmen t and po liticalII';Jdl'r!> hip from med ia celebrity. In turn, citizens ha ve become political co n

    l I t r l L ' r who no longer 'buy' inclusive ideological packages or tried-andtru .. lcd p:lrt y hra nds, bu t are still mobilisable around strings of sing le issuesand afOl l l ld 's in gular ' political pe rsonali ties who re prese nt these issues in :l

    t iVl' 1l1:1I1Iwr . What is too read il y compbincc\ ahout :IS politi l:d cy ni l l ..11I III l lVl withdra w:" , l11 igh t Tl)l)rl' of"tl.'11 IR': l rl' jl'( 11I 1I1 pi 11.1111111111 :11111 11. 11\ ,11 tl l \' I \ IO I1

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    11 11 1 ,1\ \1\ \ ' \ 111 / 1' 11 ,, 1111' II I II ', " ,11111" ' \ \\ ' 1'01011 .. \111 .. I> h, ' llIlIti th l ' I I I I I I I I 1 III I 1I11"I ,d \ It '\\ til IllI'dl ' l 1'111 111 ,II 11' 1.11 h ili " '1'111 " I" 1\11\' III w illi h, 111 ...01.11 , ... du'11 11 , . 111111 II I ' 0 111111 ' 1111 " I> I.II al ,II I, I l l ~ I;II !->l'd 11l;t way t l l ; l l l ; I ! ' > lilt.,"l,H t ' llll ,tI I,ll go,)(1 Kant'" nu t 1011 n l thl' p O ~ i l i v l ' r d ; t l \ l n ~ h i p IWlWl'l'!l ' pu h licly' a l ld thl' l '}. " l t b,' 01 ' p ll h li l r l 'aMHl ' is one founding principll' 01 the'nahling Vi l ' W (nn t h i ~ in n:h.llion to press theory, sec Splichal , 2002),

    We can cont rast suc h tl position wi th what we might ca ll the 'disa bling'erspcc ti vc. In th is far more f :lIni liar view, the media are seen as variollslyIldermining the practice of democracy or, at least, of having a strong

    r o p ~ to do so. They perfo rm their subversive function through suchutes as the substitution of e ntertainment for kn owledge, the closi ng off ofue diverSi ty, the pursuit of an agenda determined primarily by marketJetors and th ei r susceptibility to control by government and corporate agenics. The se ca n be alternative or combinatory factor s wit hin any givencount. Although attempts to assert the case for the 'e nabling' view are stillbe found (if nea rly always with considerable modifica tion to the economi cd regulatory arrangements thought necessary), it is the 'disabling' view

    ha s provided the focus for the majority of studies in political comm uni-tion . Indeed, unease about the political consequences of a developingedia sector provides one clear reason for the growth of media research assubfie ld of social science, particularly in the USA dur ing the I940s and50s. The key question has been: in what ways and to what extent do the

    edia impact nega tively upon politica l practice? The tones in which thisestion ha s been asked have ranged from th e urgent and anx ious to the

    are measured. However, even in tho se enquiries framed fin ally by a sense' positive reass urance it is im portant to note how address to the nega tivether t han to the positive ha s provided the primary point of referen ce,Concern with the perceived negative character of media-political re lationsn be see n rnost often to work within the terms of one or other of tworsions of 'imbalance' , variously qualified . The first ve rsion might be ca llede notion of a politicised media. In this, the media's indepe ndence is seenbe almost entire ly c ircumscr ibed by the controls of th e politica l system.

    Ie rea lm of politics has effect ive ly superimposed itse lf upon the rea lm of,dia. As independent agencies, the media have been 'shut down' . Many

    ~ u m e about the effect of 'spi n ' and of political marketing work with alse of this kind of imbalance as their basic scenario. Th e second version'crses the relat ionship and mig ht be ca lled the notion of a thoroughl ydial ised politics. He re, it is the realm of politics that has becomeonised by med ia log ics and impera tives, losing its speci ficity and integrity,:itics ha s become an adjunct to show busin ess. Debate about 'infotain'nt ' and 'dumbing down ' often uses this version as its ba se mode l, but it iscourse entirely poss ible to regard 'sp in ' and 'political market ing' as indiors not of the political control exerted over th e media but of theplacement of po li tica l va lues by those of the media system,

    T I ll ' I \VII 11I1I1i" I . , II" 11 li t lill' " lily \1 1"11 111 1{ \, 111 '>1 l1 g .I11 Y .. ~ l I p n 0 1'. I 'P.l I . I I \ ' I I ,d II '> 111 \\ 1 1\\ , " III '>l il li " k l 11d II I pb yo ll nll,Hw l' l g , ' llu'I1I1j h l"thlll" .. ~ : o u " l ' lI !'> l '. It C III Ill' :l Igul 'd ~ h : ! ~ tile..' r e l a l l o n ~ l l ph, ,\w,'\'n t hI ' I lled1:! !->y .. t\ '111 and th L' political sy:, tcm IS, III Illany c ountnes,I ,ll l ou d t.'lhl'ly Ill lt..'rpt' nc..:trating in character to admit of suc h a separat e,

    H l a l l o ' K t . " p t u ; l l i Neverth eless, a m m i t m to see ing : he compin: Illl.llualil y of contemp orary political and med ia systems .st lll leavesqUl' !O tions of re lat ionship, causa lity and va lue to be asked, even If seen to be more 'inte rnal', partial and contingent in character. ThiS IS;t challenge for a new generation of resea rchers b o t ~ in . p ~ l i t i and inInl'di3 studies, In facing it , the term ' political communtcatlon wil l need toIll' rejec ted as the defining label for what is under scrutiny. It is both toolimi ting in its suggested scope (centred, sometimes exclusive ly, upon,olitica l pub licity and political journa lism and with a bias towards e lectoralm p a i and too functionalist in its implications of a defined role selfconscious ly performed. Working term s that catch mor e at the breadth andcomplexity of med iated politics, and at th e indirectness of much of whatis significant, will be needed.

    The second broad area in which this collection attempt s to open up newlines of enquiry, political culture, clearly ha s a substantial overlap w.ith theagenda , both estab lished and emerging, around mediation. QuestIons ofcomm unication and of culture have a lways been hard to se parate but nevermore so than now. Perhaps the most central ques tion here conce rns thechanging terms upon which eve ryday life is lived and 'the p u b l i and 'theprivate' defined in relation to each other. How do politics and po],tlClans fitwithin th ese broader contours of experience, framed by new routmes ofwork and leisure and producing their own forms of self- and soc ia l con-sciousness, of aspiration and anxiety, hope and disillusion ment?

    Consumerism, Celebrity and CynicismThree C's, consum erism, celebrity and cy nicism, are key factors in n e ~ dattention here, In many countries, the emphasis on the consumer wlt hmrela tions of market provision has extended we ll beyond the cor e areas oftrade and shopping. It ha s shaped revised form s of pub lic se rvi ce, includingeducation and health, and it has inevitably placed politicians in the role, atleast partiy, of be ing 'se rvi ce providers '. To some comm entators, u m ~ r -consciousness ha s brought an end to deference and a clearer sense of qualityand choice. It ha s worked against producer controls and has thu s exertedwhat can finally be seen as an empowering, democratising effect upon thosesocial areas in which it has become prominent . Rather than und ermllllllgcitizenship, it has reinforced it by supplying new kinds of awareness and expectations. To other writers, the prominence of the consumer and the language of


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    111 111 . t\1 ,, It,llrlly. 1II\ll lVIlh ' lI ' latlwd pl.'rlorlll :lllll wit hin (u ndilions nll ' \ P IIH'di:l vi\ lhdlt y ;lIld, quite often, vigorous media scrut iny, are amajor feature of contemporary cu lture. Alongside the more establi shed'pub lic figures', a whole new range o f people from television, sport, popularmusic and ot her areas of en tertainment have become, if on ly temporarily,members of a ce lebrity system that extends to th e interna tional leve l. Thisis a system reinforced, indeed sustained, by th e busy circuit s of pub licity andpromotion with in audio-visual and print culture, As we noted at th e s tart ofthi s introduction, among its latest recruits are the parti ci pants in te levision 'snew 'reality programmes', These constitute a bottom leve l of regularlyrepl enished celebrity, an chored in th e ordinary by th e ve ry nature of theirrecruitm ent.

    Po litical prominence, both as fame an d as noto riety, ha s bee n substantiallyre-worked in tenn s o f the broader pattern , A new aesth etics of the politicalself has been fa shioned and it is to the further exp loration of this, amongothe r t hings, that we wish to point in our d iscussion be low of the idea ofpolitical style, The exam ination of political performances, their settings andthe kinds of response th ey receive arc a com mon theme in a number of thepieces that follow,Inter-linked both with questions of consumerism and of ce lebrity is theissue of political cynicism, For some comm entators, as our opening remarkssuggested, the increase in cynica l disposition, perhaps most not iceable in lowelecti on turn-outs bu t by no means limited to electoral per iods, is the s inglemost worrying element of contemporary politics. Often, media treatment ofpolitics is blamed for reinforcing if not ca using th e tendency, al th ough someIl"ledia managers have pointed to the difficu lties t hey fa ce in making politicsinte rest ing to the ir aud iences and readershi ps, particularly to th e yo ung,Another often cited cause is the adoption of more aggressively c ommercialforms of po li tica l marketing in many countries and the negative and moredistanced att itudes towards political activity that thi s is said to have encouraged, It is inte rest ing to note just how much this mooted 'e ffec t ' contrastswit h the idea of a happily compliant, mi sin formed citizenry projected in otheraCCOunt s.

    Behi nd the question of cyni cism, and often entir ely unaddressed, areassumptions about what kinds of investment people should make in politicsand what kind of expectation they should have of politicians, Here, we connect with contemporary versions of a venerable issue - the rat ional groundsfor polit ical affil ia tion and action and th e interplay of the se with a more"fft'tt ive dynamics, with th e realm of fee lings and even of fantasy, Enquiryl1l're hegins to interroga te the very notion of political ' represe ntat ion' and thefo rms o f relationship and responsibility it supposes. A number of writersh:wc rl'cc ntly revis ited this topic, examining the kinds of criteria which6

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    ~ l i l t 1 a fe :o ul l or their IllL'dialL'd uh,qult y ,1I 1t1 I I I I IVI,,,,11 lallH' . TilL'cenlral significance of celebrity cullure for Lim. new \ oll,t,' lbuoll b lh:llpublic figures embody sty lised forms of individuality, whllh offer a temporary focus for id ent ificat ion and orga nisat ion by fluid co llect ives (or 'audiences:) in the 'classless :, individualised, broader culture (Marshall, 1997).Such aud Ience subJects, as Marshall calls them, appropriately exp ress botha unique individuality and the social power of a particular group . Within thiscont ex t: individuals .attempt to mak e se nse of socia l expe rience throughcelebrating and select Ively identifying with the lifestyles of public personaliti es.

    This system of ce leb rity power is progressively being translated from thepopular entertain ment industri es toward s more 'serious' fie lds such as bu siness, polit ics, art and sc ience. In this respect, th e new form s of public ity thatare ge nerated by c elebrity c ulture (and media culture more genera lly) alsotend tob lur the ' liberal' demarcations between th e social spheres of culture,the polity, and the economy} press ing for a mutual interpenetration of fo rmerly distinct 'field logics' or 'system codes'. Such a de-differentiation is, forexample, promoted by the discourse about 'ente rprise culture' which, as wehave noted above, intrudes upon political reality in th e form of performativemetaphors about polit ica l marketing} branding, and ci ti zen-co nsumershi p.Suc h a push for the 'economisation' of politics (and cu lture) is immediately

    a ~ k e d by a drive for the cu ltura lisation of politics (and the economy),wh, h defines some of the stru ctural shifts which have been ide ntifiedabove. Both th e new 'cultural economy ' and the new 'cultural politics' ev idence an intemleshing of fo rmerly distinct va lu es and codes, which bringsout th e new prominence of discursivi ty, symbol-making, and aesth etic des ignfor and politica l prac tice. Media culture acts as a central ene rgiserof thIS process of de-differentiation, forCing a 'style revolution' in othersocia l domains th at is si multaneously a process of aestheticisation emoti on-alisation and ce lebr ifica tion. In this cu lture of universa l promot ion '(We rn ick199 1), institutions such as parties and ideo logies primarily survive as brands'while the only future for politica l personality is that of ce lebrity. Art andthe artistic life turn into models for political (and economic) behaviour'and bohemian indiViduality and auth en ticity e merge as the co re va lu es ofthoroughly aestheticised capitalism.

    Aesthetic Politics

    That politics is not a science but an art , and that politica l representationfollows an aesthetic rather than rationalistic logic, has been themati sed moreclea rly by the Romantic than by the En lightenment trad ition in We sternpoliti cal thought . Th e idea of poli ti cs as theatre, focusing on spec tacle, style,8

    I -I I l t l l l l l l l , l I h l l l l ~ 'li lt ,t! III'I ,.il lI ,lhl\, h,,, 11\' \ ' 1\ 1'111 IlIlt ' \",1\ II ,, ' \\111i P,IIII\ 111.11I II I " , I lid 11.l1l1ho\ , 1111. I ' hy I.UIII ,1 g li l \ \ ' I I I ~ 1111 \\ I ' l l I ' I I I ' ,Iod I q ~ l I I II I hL\V , I ) : IWI I , III .. tllH 1'1' llil l I II I 1,\,llliI ;1I ; 11 t, 1111' :. t ;l l t ' :IIHI t i l l ' IWllpll' Wl'n' vil-'wed,1', , 1 (;I',/lIIIII.."",I/I'",J.:, ,,11Il h I h l ' l h ~ I I I : ' I J 1 a l l L pohllL'al arli!ll would !)h:lpc out,II till 1 ' I I I ,I IHI ll l ... r ~ ; l n " l , ( 1 Illatll'r 01 lh..: popular ma ss. For a Marxist1I111uH '1 ll l h ; I' Ih'llr:.min t the a C ~ l h e t i c i s a t i o n of politics was therefore

    , I IllgU lllUlOILlIY or the F a ~ c i s l ploy to give the ma sses a grandiose e xpres' 1 \ ' . ;l l l i l (r:ILilL.tI nalionalism and total war), whi h would co nvenientlyddh'l l their l'nl'rgil's from attacking the stru cture of ca pitalist exp loitation.11 111 khl'illief and Adorno's pessim istic anal ysis of the culture industries(I I"rklll'illler and Adorno, 1979; Adorno, 199 1) genera lised this c ritique to"IlUHllpa!lS the modern cu lt of ce lebrity and pscudo-individuality in post\' I 'l i!ll Western liberal de mocracies.

    Ilowevcr, it call be argued that this negative o r 'di sab lin g' view of aesth eticplllilics fails to capture its true significa nce fo r aUf own med ia-sa tu ratedpn lilica l culture. As Horkheime r and Adorno realised, the aesthetic isa tiondrive did not remain confined to right-wing political movements and regimcs,hilt carried a much broader hi storical resonance that tied it in with long-termprocesses of massification and mediatisa tion. Indeed, Le Bon 's of thenL'W emotive relationship between leader ma ss ( 1960), Barres's view ofpo litics as emotional energy (cf. Hillnch, 1979: 105-6), Durkheim's notionof 'collective effervescence' ( 1995), and Weber's account of charismatic

    I ~ a d e r s h i p democracy' (1988, 1994) offered early pointers towards forms\) 1' theatrical, spectacular and performative politics that ha ve meanwh ile,'merged across the whole breadth of the political spectrum. Pioneered byartistic movements such as Futurism and Surrea lism, such new politica l, tyles an d techniques were first consolidated and professional ised by t heFascist and N f l t i o n ~ Socia list reg im es, which turned ma ss prop:Jganda andmass ritual into an art form and made un precedented use of new ly ava ilab letechnologies of com munication and mobility. But already, duri ng the 1920sand I930s, the iconography and histrionics of righ t-Wing politica l activismwere successfull y copied by centre-left movements such as Chri stian democracy and revisio nist socia lism, as was for example evidenced in the agi tationfor the Plan of Labour that swept Belgium and other European countriesduring the I930s.

    The subsequent evolution of political democracy has demonstra ted thataesth etic sty lisa tion is an inherent and inevitable feature of mass politics,particul arly in its (post)modern mediated form . We cannot therefore leavethe aestheticisa tion of politics to the historica l (and contemporary) right, butmust instead contemplate its role in enab ling new forms of represe ntationand a further democratisation of democracy. Instead of aggravating the dangers of spectacula r politics, emo tional identifica tion and charismatic leader-ship/ th e unprecedented sprea d of new techn ologies of communication ha sin a sense neutralised their authoritarian risk, by 'lowering the po litical hero


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    ~ c m l i s e d nalional unity is repbced by a whole Itrmaml'nt 01 Illtif..' g o d ~ whon se and fall in a never-ending game of publ ic reputatian-m:.lking -a ncl-breaking,and who can mobilise only partial and flee ting forms of consensus whichlack an integrative nucleus of values a r beliefs. Under such new c a ~ d i t i a n sof med ia ted visibility and 'th in' solidarity, a politics of personal style may

    g ~ ~ e r a t e .dem ocrat ic effects, by expanding the platforms far engagement andcItIze nshIp, and by orfering forms of popu lar a ppeal and emotiona l identification that cut through technocrati c smoke-sc reens and institutional in ertia.A performative polit ics foregrounds the politician as an actor, whose performance 011 th e pub lic st;lge is continuous ly jud ged in ter ms of authentic ityhonesty and 'c haracte r' . '

    The Presentation of Political Self

    Inevitably, therefore, questions concerning the nature of the political 'se lf ',IIlcludmg questions about the nature of self-consciousness and of politicalp e r f ~ " : a n need to be rai sed at a number of different points in any stud yof ~ o h t l C a l culture. Here, the work of Erving Goffman (classically, Goffman,19)9) provides an indispensable source o f ideas and perceptions. For profesSIonal politICians, ' th e presentation of self in everyday life' involves the management of a number of different roles, man y of th em performed in acultural context where the relat ionsh ip an d interplay betwee n 'pub lic' and

    p r i . v ~ t e realms is indet erminate and changing. The 'sty lin g of t he se lf ' inpoiJtl CS , t he projec ti on of pol itica l personal is part ly a m:.1tter of choice(a conscious 'branding' exe rcise designed to sharpen profile) and pa rtly areqUired reac tion to th e terms of media visibil ity that now frame and int erpret politica l act io n in many co untries.

    There are SOC iolog ica l issues here, ce rtainly. We cannot understand Contem porary political processes and settings unless we at least engage with thekinds of identity that politicians project and the relation of these to popu larpercep tions and judgements. Issues of 'strength ' and 'wea kn ess', of the'trustworthy' and the 'sly' , of the perceived limits o f 'ambition' are centralto the o rganisatio n of popu lar politica l feelings. The way in which politiciansare assessed, both as l1"1 embers of a professional grouping and also as representatives of the people, articulating differing versions of co mmonsense', is cru cial too. Thi s assessment connec ts outwards to th e broader identities they enjoy as celebrities, the subjects o f polit ica l gossip and of speculation as to the dee per, more private, personalities that lie behind thepersona e adopted for the duties of offi ce.10

    II II'll ' I .. . 1 0 ,1 I"'\,\ H I I \ 1 ' ~ ,,I dUIIl ' I l l i l I I A .. A lh ll \ ' \V S. I I I1IWI I, ., oh"" lvl'dIs .ulllwl ... JODI J. p I I I I I I I . 11:. ....1 ..... . . It ' l Il k ', :1 I .m .ll I vl 1I1Hll l l' l 11I:lII:lhl ' lIll 'n l.IIH l lt I1 . IIIII. III ...... 1111.11 10 11 .111.1 11..-.11 . Aldwu)!.h Il I 1l 1OM ultl.!) III l l i l ' gl,.'ln: of.lllhlhlllhl. lpily .llId hlllg l.lrhy that a!oop"'ll b rdlcctl.:'d upon in any. tI ... t.llnl'd W,IV, tlll'n' an ' h i l l in till.:' p \ . ' n a l i t i o n of politics that mayI .l1l1ll\l to Illakt1I1l !tnk hetween the 'inner' and the 'outer ' more prominentII I till' lut\lrt. Rt"lt'Wl'd int erest in questions of 'trust', af 'sincerity', and of.1 Pllll l l l .. th3t ~ o m c h o w escapes the distort ions of 'system ', is one feature of!lln'nt changes in the terms of politica l culture.

    'I'llI. Iangu:1ge that politicians use ha s, rightl y, been see n as one key test oft li l' l r integr ity and quality and, perhaps less pOSiti vely, of their strategic acuIII\ n. Finding the ' right ' kind of language to address particu lar audiences on' p'c ilk topics is amo ng the primary challenges to those seek ing and holdingI'tl liti cal office. The forms of language in use w ill necessa rily reflect in partl i l t ' broa der shifts in pub lic and cultural coinage. Te rms and phrases can lose,il r gain, cred ibility and cogency within the space of a year or so, while if we",mpared the political language of, say, Britain in the 1960s with Britaintoday, a whole shift in register, vocabu lary and rhetorical organisation wauldI,,'come apparent (see for instance Fairclough, 2000). One key move hashl'en towards more informal kinds of address, ones better suit ed t o mediationthrough telev ision than those deriving from older forms of public oratory.Informa lity suggests 'closer' relationships, and the move towards a more,o lloquial politica l language has often go ne along with an attempt to reconligure political relations in a way that goes beyond th e hierarchy and the[erms of defe rence and condescension character ising older models. The 'pe r'ional' ha s a long hi story in political appeal, strategica lly augment in g the' public ' when th ought ne cessary, but many of ou r chapters show ta whatdegree p e r s o n fa ctors have become prominent in political life. Thi s ha s:> hown itself in an in creased use of persona lised co mmen t (in tone and incontent) not only in th e projection of politica l identity but nlso in thedefence of policies.

    Political DeceitPerhaps the o ldest questions to be asked about the politi cal se lf are those todo with motive and with honesty. Politicians have come to be seen, internatio nall y, as inv eterate liars, creating an expectation against which 'honesty' isa novelty. This perception derives partly from an ancient scepticism aboutthe guile of rulers (wonderfull y articulated by Ma hi avelli, in an account thatescaped its sixte enth century context to become defining) . How eve r, modemforms of democracy and the growth of new patterns of political communication have add ed to, and revised, the terms of suspicion. They have alsoreconfigured the cond itions for being honest and for being truthful. In part,


  • 7/27/2019 Pels Intro


    1111 ' \ h .I\I j!\, .. lIhlllt'l l pH III I\ I.1I1 .. 'o il Ii !"l 'ph \ \1111111 1111 11 " 111 '0 0 1 /1/1(,/' 11/ \ '.\\ Ul ll ll ' I ' I ..... ...t'I ' lIll. 1'1.' 1'1 , .1 " 1111. dn ll ! ,lIhlllllllll\' I .. ...,'ltll.lIl111;" "' IIl:lnv " t a n ~ ," UH llpl t, tt.: hunl..'I V h., plIl)',I '" ,I '" J ~ l ' n t l ~na Ive, O nl..' might that lh l.' pragmat ic..: t..llll h" t' 11I1 1'IIIIII l ,II "' Pl 'I'l..h tradeon a rout ine, professional insince rity in a manner not l..' nt ll l' ly unlike theconventi,ons. of the advertiSng industry (see Mayhew, I for a stri kingre-examInat Ion of this co mpari son) . It is the expanded circumstances of visibility and notion:J1 acco untability within which modern polit ic ians work thathave, a little paradoxica lly, helped to create a more elaborate repertoi re ofdeceit and evasion in political speec h. The public speech of politicians isaddressed to three broad categories of significant addressee _ to other politi-clans,. o Journaltsts and to sec tions of the general public. In openly reportedspeakmg, different priorities of co mbination will Occur acco rding to the situatIon. ? f course, there are many subcategories here too, crenting a complexdynamics of co mmunica tive design ;lnd antic ipation.

    In a suggestive essay, Arendt (1973) considers ' lying' as something part lyto do with the very nature of the political imagination and its tend encytowards the projec tion of aspirat ions and goals not quali fied by compromi se.Certainly, an ope nly id eological politics may di splay this utopian vein, butthe more 'manage ria list ' polit ics with which man y of us are now familiarseems to resort to dece it as much in its reac tive moments as in its co nsid ered publici ty. Th is is often in an attempt to pre-empt th e bad news, to re'lssure on a point of growing anx iety, to hold a co mpr omise pos ition betwee nshifting and mutua lly suspicious interest groups or points of view. The chang-ing conditions of politica l tru st and their relationship both to medi a p ractice

    to codes of polit ica l hones ty are an important aspec t of politi al culture,whIch have so far received less attention than they dese rve.

    The Organisation of Ihis BookAs indicated before, the 'aesthetics ' of political representat io n and thesalience of poli t ica l style are ce ntral issue s in the new ap proaches to polit icalculture that are advanced this book. The next chapter by Frank Ankers mitdevelops an intriguing analogy between the notion of polit ica l style andSchum ann 's not io n of th e ' inner vo ice': a m elody that is not actua lly playedbut strongly suggested by what is played . Political reality Similarly arises inthe g ap betwee n what is objectively there and what is merely suggested.Whd e th e 'classica l' view defines political reality as basica ll y transpa rent,unambiguous and co nsensual, leaVing no room for the 'inn er vo ice' of politics'romantic ' political th eo ry acknowledges its ess entia l ambivalen ces andperspectiva l connicts, frol11 which po lit ical truth emerges as an ' inner voice'and in the form of a new political style. In the comp lex symphony of demo-cratic po lit ics, style is at work betwee n politica l form and political co ntent12

    1III I I It'I\\l ' I ' 1i I "1'1 t ' '.I' 1I1I ' I ', . II H I I l ' \H I " ( ' lI l l 'd , l i l t ' " IIIIll\' t I l polll ll . 11 " ..111\\1 \ III Ih, ' 11 111 '11'1.1 \ Iw l \\ I "' 1I 11 1 ' It ll k ind ,111.1 tl., ' Il l!,ht h,llld 01 dll ', 1" 11 11111.1 11 \ I' I \I\l"' "lilt' Inlln\\ IIl I!, I h'IP1l 1 hv I ) i ~ k l l ltll.. :llly Ankl'rsrni t 's

    1I " t ll . I \ :IPllI \I:1\ 11 1 1 a I,hl l'l ' ) l . . i l l l o ~ i L : dirt'ction. by how the co n.11111111 .. II I poi llil..a l Ilk nll ly and dif'fc rl.'nn' are changing under th e impac t of1, ll\ I' '' :llln and the new prominence of style. The brief political1.11 ,111 .1 dramati t d(,3 th of' Pim Fortuyn, the mediage nic political dandy w hol 'lll 'l led a ma jor 'style brea k' in Dutch polit ical culture, is used as a focus forIh .. ,u .... ing the new forms of personality politics , polit ica l ce lebrity andIl,lLIMlCi:.l l ' quasi- intirnacy that are restru cturing the fi eld of po liti-1 .1 rl 'cognition and (dis) trust . Par asocial identifica tion stages a nove l proxiIllIly bch,vce n repr ese nters and represented that is co un te rbnlanced by thedl:lll1atic distan ce that in ev itably ren1a ins between ce lebrities and 'civilian s'.Wh de political personaliti es adopt more aesthetic forms of selF-display,l lli /.cns in creasin gly judge th em on the basis of 'emotional intelligence ' and

    of polit ica l tnste, In this sense , the stylisation of politicshridges the represe ntative gap and ma y in spire a further democratisntion ofdl'lllocracy - eve n though the ri sk of false intimacy and obsessive identificat ion remains,

    As is clear from the above, issues around the new forms of the pe rsonal inpolitics arc cl ose to the ce ntre of man y chapters in thi s vo lume. John Cornermakes this his primary focus . Taking up the idea of 'persona' , he rev iews thel ha nging charac ter of professional political identity, politica l performance,md the interco nnec tions with new fo rms of m edia po rtr aya l. Th e approac hIS schemat ic, outlining features of structure and process that now interco nnect 'private' and 'public ' dimensions o f politica l life both in political jour-nali sm and in the broader sphere of political goss ip and celebrity culture.Co rner assesses how popular political sentiment relates to ideas of politicalpe rsonality, a focus for cynicis m ye t tl continuing point of attraction, andloo ks at new terms for co nsidering the perennial deb3te about politicalhonesty and politica l dece it . H ow far can personalisation be seen a ' a denia lof proper democratic engagement and to what extent might it actually returnpo lit ics to a more prod uct ive recognition of motives, values and bel ie fs?

    John Street continues the focus on political pe rsonality by develop ingfurt hert he idea of 'politica l celebrity' and the relationship wi th populo r culture.Stree t beg in s his chap ter by rev iewing a number of th eo ri es of democracy inrelation to how the 'people' rigure as arbiters of political va lue and as theaddr essees o f political publicity. He then looks a t cont emporary features ofpolitical performance , linking them t o other forms o f cultuml stardom bothin their production and co nsumption. The idea of a 'coo l politics' is exp loredcritica lly, making reference to the attempt by the Blair government in Britainto link itself more closely with style and success in the popular arts. Whatkind of criteria might be used in assess ing a polit ics that is morc openly


  • 7/27/2019 Pels Intro


    11 111 11 , .1 ,lI u l l ' \ 'dH I II I ' I I I \C I II II ... ,II ' IIt ', 1I I II ""I I I I ,nudd d lt 'v dtlk, 1' 11111 111111\'

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    'soaping' of polit ics The I ' Y d \ , 111 Z.uOl1t'll III h l ' l l h,'ph' r lI ll th l'reference fi rst of U l lqultaus prest.'nee 0 1 th l' :-.oap OIJl'ra :J rramc ofoperates as a crit ica l meta pi I ' Iviewer at a di stance from th f . ), l o r, W li e 1 positions thewith scandal and spin that and obsessionca rries a ge ndered subte t . g y ,df,gure po litI ca l life. This critiquef

    x Since, over an aga in st the trad't" 1do modernist and 'macho' h f . . 1 lana ominanceence , the generic 0 ratlOn alhty, strugg le and public pres -

    I I. pa re usua y associated with f . .

    va ues, t 1e pri vate sph ere and the emot I Ir B h emmme. I lon3 li e. ut t e soap t hslmu taneously e xpresses a se nse f "'d me ap orpeople's capac ity to become m o t ~ o n pr7vI ing symbols that exploreesting chara cters and storylin I h Y IOVO ved and connected to intertics, which suggests a m ore ' i t i ~ t ; understanding o f poli popular cul ture, virtues whi ch were traditionally andfeminInity become a central ingredi ent of political me .t to be part of

    The relationship between citizensh d n .that broader tension between publi ; ' ~ one dimension ofMargaret Scamme ll 's chapter. The central art prov Ides the focus fora critical examination of the casea' , pk . ,her account IS gIVen over toage done to democ r gatn st mar etlng. What prec isely is the dam-term s of critique i n d : ~ ~ of thls approach in po litics? What do thetic practice ' O lder mod I f u ke presum ed limIts and liabilities of democ ra-, e s 0 mar etlng presupposed th . IIof the 'customer-consum er' b t S II I k e essentla y pass ive roleidea of 3 mu ch more 3ctiv: ~ : : ~ : P U ~ ~ i shifts suggesting the

    ~ : : ~ t ~ l ~ i b ~ u t S,ifts beyond t a t e ~ i e : v : ; ~ :. I . P an suggests mu ch that cannot use ull be dWIt li n the total sing term s of d . h h Y vleweTh . . . esp31r t at ave sometimes been ado t dhere-pos It IOning of citi zenship, both as an identity a d p e : ,t e maIO conce rn of L..1nce Bennett As ' S n as a pra cti ce , ISconsumer roles is see n as s ignifi cant' H' mh camme ll , the convergence withfactors, including a decline in the apter the principalelectoral politics drawing close r to m ; I t l t u t i and anchanges. For him as for other c .b g , e s, t at underpin curr ent, ontn utors a new politics' . . his more fragmented, more personalised and' . IS emergll1g t atth an the kinds of es tablished . .. symbohc and far less predictablehis reading of the current i t ! : ~ It IS D r a w i ~ primarily onlems of democratic value that th ' . n Amenca, Bennett registers the probtive routes of civic involvement ~ ~ t ; ~ d u to di spla ce effecthe newer critic I . e sam e time he finds some hope inthat do more : h energles j of ac tivism and poss ibilities for re-buildingbetwe en polit ica l ~ - ~ ~ the finstitutional connec tionse practices 0 government.14

    1\ I', nl ll 'P""hlt ' t il I IL "I I1', '" \ 1I 1H'lI l \ !,,",gl .. I lL l 111 h tl l .d l, tI"Ll I' wl ll hHll...nlllt ' 1 \\ 11 11\'\ I ltl l l "'L1 h "1 1, . lt l .. ,Iholl l ' , Il 'W Ilhdl., ,IIllI ..huut dw U .. l ..

    .lIId 1'\1 11 '"11 ,.1 Itl II Il' I HI \ ' l lw l PI H ' . l ) a " l ~ n ' ' ' ' dl l ... L l w d lr l. atlll l' ntIII .I l 11 ,lp l l' l Ih :l l ha :1 dlH lhk 0 1 :111 , Ill' L ' l ~ de tailed ,\ I H I 1 I \ 1 I ' n t ~ \ l V nn ti l l ' Idl 'a ul 'LiVic Lu lturc. id..:ntif'ying the d irfere nt dimen"'hl t l ' th:lt IlI ah lip :, 'circuit' or va lues and processes in w'hich the medi a11.1\ l' lI\L'vltab ly hl 'CO l l l l' dCl'p ly implicated. He then moves on to look at how' l l l 'W med ia ' an..' rcconfiguring the dynamics of this circuit, in ways whose1,11.11direc tion and consequence can still onl y be the subject of speculation.l in\\' an: on line polit ica l actions related to o ffline citizenship? What is beingI '\"l' \l cd up in the civic circuit and what is at risk of be ing closed down?I lah lgrcn co ncludes by survey ing a number of websites, a selective trawl lnws a provisional reading of the various orientat ions and possibilit ies of theIWW politi ca l terrain , putting some hope in the 'new informal politics' that isIll'coming visibl e there .Jon Simons pursues the link between the popu lari sation of culture andlhe democrati sa tion of politics on a more g neral leve l, deve loping a case.Igainst eliti st critics who despa ir about universa l commodification and thepl'Tni ciouS influence of the media. This intellectual pess imism about populardemocracy and the aestheticisa tion of cul tu re should largely be understood,I'" a lament about the loss of relevant cultural capital, whi ch ha s traditionallybce n inves ted in typographic rather than televisual forms of communication.Ilowever, political elites necessarily ope rate in a risky arena, since elec toralcompetition must be conducted with the help of aes thetic techn ologiesand media form ats that are largely orie nted to visuality, emotionality, commercialism and entertainment. The dominant rationalistic o rientation ofthese elites tends to obscure the critical and demo ratic potential that isoffered by visual and emotional literacy and the co ntradictions of mediaculture , whi ch inevitably c onjure up the risks o f sensationalism, parody, andscepticism .In the final chapter, Bronislaw Szerszynsk i re-e ngages the central dilem-mas of aesth etic representation and politica l style not so much from the'e leva ted ' perspective of political elites but 'from below', focusing upon thepeculiar dramaturgy of ecolog ical protest politics . Their political semi oticsinclude a speci fi c visualisa tion and aesthet ic typ ing of protest actors, whichfac ilitate the emotional identification with strange rs who are clea rly markedout as different from the norm, but who simultaneously claim to embody ahigher moral legitimacy . Since this gap between particularity and unive rsa l-ity is bridged by a political aes thetiC, style display also makes these politica lactors vulnerable to being see n as acting out a particul ar identity or a privatesentiment (for example, th at of frustrated middle-class children, troublemakers, or youthful ideali sts) , denying them the right to speak more representatively. Extending Senn ett 's hi storical parallel between theatre andpubl ic life, Szerszynski argu es th at contemporary protest actions exemplify15

  • 7/27/2019 Pels Intro


    Critical Tensions : Pess imism and OptimismIn diffc re nt ways a ll 0 'bbetween modern;st ; a ~ ~ : [ : ; u t t c o o S n ' c t h e t . f o r C l f with a critical tension, ep Ions 0 hIgh' I't ' 'h' h ' ,113115111 and 'high' science d " f ' . po I ICS, Ig Jour-

    I .. n a vanety 0 romant " h "l11ative' views which elabor'>te f 1C, aest etlC or 'pe r for-a matte rs 0 represcntat" . I I ' dlevel t he traditiona l hie rarc hy with ' low ' I, IOna s tye , ; or er topra ctices and ski lls of wo rld-maki n I A PO,PlI d r c,u l t ll re and more ordinary'cbrianal certa inties in politics polItlgc'. I ,rg lllnSI,:lgm nst object iv ism and Foun-

    o I CI )Oll rna Ism 'In c! pol't" . I ' ' hvarlOlls ly re hab il itate pe rsp'ct' , I ' ' I lea SCIence, t eyC lV1 5 11\ nest le t lc styli ,:> . I ' ,infofl11 r!lI' tY' lld' I I ng, emotlO n,J Int e llige nce< t 01 0\ 1 1lo ntributors exp lore an 'e nabling' or optim istic perspec t ive on th e ;lC!'> lhl'llI i .ation and 'populari sation' of polit ics, eve n th ough ail of them take Clrl' IIIweigh the dem ocra tic opportunities Jfforded by th e new intensity of 11l('c!iapolitica l re lations ag:.linst its eviden t risks. It should be clear that th e purptl!>(III this book is to open up an area of enquiry and debate, one that ha s of el lgot los t in th e gaps between po li tica l and media studies, rat her t han to rored ose around any part icular read ing or assessme nt. Th e shee r cO ll1plrxity 01th e current phase of ' re-styling ', across its various dimensions, is such ;}!) tllLonfollnd any attempt at th e neat analysis or th e elegance of th e unqualifiedjudgement. We have identified shifts in representation across its tw o Illcanings, bo th as mode of po rt rayal and as practice of delegation, and then in thl'rela tio n between th e two, as pivota l he re.

    Thflt man y countries are experie nc ing a new dynamics of cha nge in tlwi rpo li tica l life is hardl y in question, No r is th e shift in th e d irectness of lIwco nnect ions wi th culture and w ith commerce. Po Ii tiC.lI structurl'S,pe rformances and experience are all in and th e bold Form ofour question resists an eq ua lly bold answer simpl y beca use of th e mi x ortrajectories and values. Different kinds of whJt Raymond Wi lliams' residua l, dominant and emergent' ele lllents are in process toget her. This i:-.ce rtainly t rue For many estab lished democracies. El sew here, of ~ l ' ,history and more runciamcntal kinds of transition some ti Jlles a llow fo r amore decisive ;lIlswe r, at least for th e time being. But th e 'troub led ' 01Jllany of th e chapters, their sense of e ngaging with va lues in tension andsometimes in co ntradiction, we take to be th e direct product of their perce ptiveness of approach rat her than a failure of eva luative resolve. For w h ~ l tever else it does, th e pre sc nt re- styling of po li tics presents us (both :I>citizens and os scholars) with qu ite speC ific kinds o f difficulty , Ou r hope i,that this book provides some he lp in thinking that difficu lt y th rough,


  • 7/27/2019 Pels Intro


    110101 ncesAd" , 1111 , I 1111