, " I Tl P viously he has lived in Israel and
Jon Simons is Senior Lecturer CntlCt (Routledge, 1995) , as well
the US, He is the 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 to
Society Clnd Space" and Polt,tlcal /tudl eft , State Uni versity Press, \ 996) and
Feminist Int erpretatlOlls o!.lv! lche(IMouca,;11 ( 1998) His current research concerns
Recollsti tutill g Social Cnll clsm acml an, '
the nature of critical politi cal theory,
, ' , _ he University of East Anglia. He has wr itten
John Street is Reader III POitt lCS 3t
t I ' h ' Mass Media Politics Clud Democracy
I b
k the most recent 0 W l lC IS , 0 d H k
severa 00 5, d' f h C J.tbridge Compallion / 0 rop an oc
(Palgrave, 200 I).; he
on pol itical analys is and popular
(Cambridge University, ress, b 'f ' I acroSS political, media and cultural
culture have appeared m a nUIll er 0 Jour
. E' ent and Culture at t he Institute
k" L t reI' III nVlronm
Bronislaw Szcrszyns 1 . 15 chC u d P bl' Policy Lancaster University, He is the
for Environment, Pllliosop y an U INc , d the Sacred ill the Global Age
f TI S lisC/lion of Nature' attire all d .
<1ut lor 0 Ie acra .) d ' I" fRisk Ellvironment 'lIId Mo ermty:
(Blackwell , 2004 R;orderi ng of Nalllre: Theology,
Towards a New Ecology ( age ciwr ci k 2002) and Nalllre Performed:
Society al1d the New lce Review, 2003),
Environment, Culture all' , er onl1C11
. 'f f Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam
Liesbet van Zoonen IS I ro esso
0 piC It re She has publi shed widely on
d d
· f the Centre or opu ar u u, ' ' f I" I
an Irector 0 I . k" 0' the articulation 0 po ltl CS anc
gc' nder and/in medin and is currkent y I Studies (Sage 1994) , The
It Among her boo s are l-eml1l1S ' "
popu ar CU ure: ' d S 1998) d Gender Politics and Commu11ICaCi Oll
Media in Quest.lOu (co-edlte , age, an ,
(co-edited, Hampton Press, 2000) .
The Re-styling of Politi cs
The 'Voting Paradox'
In recent times, political moralist s have developed a steady habi t of
complaining about electoral wi t hdrawa l, apat hy and cynicism, accumulating
worries about a civic culture in decl ine, In the run-up to the 2001 general
election, Tony Blair, for example, feared t hat political apathy would be t he
mai n obstacle to Labour regai ning power. In t he end, he need not have wor-
ried (but of course he worried a lot after the fa ct), because the second
Labour victory was secured on the poorest voter turnout since t he beginning
of universal suffrage (53 pe r cent , while t he 1997 la ndslide had st il l brough t
uut 71 per cent of the electorate). After the poli s, BBe direct or-general
(; reg Dyke ordered a wide-ranging review of politi cal news coverage in the
hope of regaini ng t he interest especia ll y of younger vot ers, But he might have
pondered the foll owing paradox: whereas polit icians encounter the greatest
di rnculty in 'gett ing out the vote' in ordinary elections, t he ent husiasm to
\ I)tc for wa nnabe celebriti es on rea lity shows such as Big Brother, Popstars
,111<1 Pop Idol regula rl y reaches levels that border on collect ive frenzy, In our
' lll idy, the level of direct e ngagement t hat characterised Athenian de moc-
'.Il y rnay have become unattainable except in t he playfu l int eractivit y
\\ hil h i:-. alforci t'd by modern mass e ntert ai nment.
I n llH' Fl'hruary 2002 fina ls of t he Pop Idol 'elect ion CHT1 PJ ign',
1111 ' 1",,1 c:lndi<i:J tl' s toget her pol kd more votes the Lihl'ra l
I )I ' l1h)( 1.lh in till' g"lHT:l1 i.'l , 'nion, In the bi ggest -ever phnnc-in, whi( Ii In l to
.I 111 '; 11 1III'Itd'l\vl1 Il l' l lw BT lwtw(lr k, H,7 nl VUl l'S \\'(' rc Cbt , (I I' whi l h 1-I.(Hll
1111 ' \\' 11111\ ' 1, pll l l tl l ' g r ;u l " ;llt ' \tVill V,lllng, St. lIl1ng III (),ltl l w, 2()(J1
\\ 1111 t.) hili \ ' 11 '\\"'1', lilt' :- l lllW' , 1111.11" \-v:" w " it Iwd hv , Ill , 11111'1 ' 11\" pi 111111( '
t l'.Ill ,I L., III It lll\llllk II\ 'W\
II" , ' 11" d ' 1, II ' tIIlHI , 1I1l j\, lI f:lt , Iii till ' , ' ''l It! \ \, ltllll'll II",
1',1 \ 11 1,111 11i , 1I1 tlltl ' I \I\'\\ 1111 Ih. , 11I1 'II 'lh lll' "\"I ,k.., h,lIl ', 1' 1' 11 tl,, '
MIIII" "WI 1111 III "IYIIIH, III 1'111111(:',
, ql \, It!WI1 ... 1 ... III an :dl!'>llIhulg lon1lx'tition in which, as the celebrity magazine
Il t', 1I put It , 'Gareth and Wi ll 's different styles, appe:lfances and personalities
dnid\'d til\' natiun' (as 'limy and the other William [Hague] had conspi cuously
1:1111....1 to do in thl' previous year). During the final week, the two front
111Il1ll'rS were sent on a a mock-political campaign, visit ing newspaper offices
,Ind hroadcasting studios, and diving into crowds from shiny battl ebuses that
':lITi,'d , Ioga ns such os VOTE WILL or VOTE GARETH. Establi shed celebri-
til' s Gl llll' out in fa vour of one or the other, gai ning a litt le extra publicity
for thelll seives on the side. With some justice, Steve Anderson, lTV's news
llUltroll cr, suggested t hat Westminster still had a lot to learn from Pop Idol's
tl' chni ques of mass market ing and personality dispby,
But we should also notice that 'official' politics has been catching up, blur-
ring the boundari es and levelling the hierarchy between 'high' political repre-
sl'ntat ion and ' low' popula r entertainment. If manufact ured pop has adopted
some of the paraphernalia and conventi ons of poli tical elect ioneering, poli-
ti cs has become more of a 'culture indust ry ', increasingly resembling a t alent
or popularit y contest , where polling is as rel entl essly continuous as in
the music and film charts, and star-gazing and infotainment have become
equall y central as they are to the tabloids and the celebrity magazi nes. It is
hnrdl y accidental that politi cal interest and electoral enthusiasm have gener-
ally pi cked up wherever politics has attained a high level of drama, offering
spectacular storyl ines ::lIld flamboyant personalities rathe r than ideological
st<lI1doffs or partisan bickering, as was evident during highly entertaining
episodes such as the 2000 mayoral elect ions in London, the leadership
contest in the Conservative Party subsequent to its 200 I election defeat, or
the recent Dut ch electi ons, which were entirel y domi nated by the
dnndyesque fi gure of Pim Fortuyn.
' Reality TV is not the end of civilisation as \-v'e know it; it is civil isati on as
we know it', as Germaine Greer has wittil y put it. She was spea king about
Big Brother, where ejecting somebody from the House has (now for the third
time) become one of the most popular forms of 'single-i ssue voting'. Thi s
'voting paradox' may appropriately focus some of the issues about the chang-
ing n;Jture of poli tical representation that we wish to make central to this
hook . The mass visibil ity that is afforded by modern mediated pol itics has
rl)regroundcd issues of 'st yle, appearance, and personality', breaking down
!'>lUlll' of tht.:: rences that separate politics from ent e rtainment and political
II';Jdl'r!'> hip from media celebrity. In turn, citizens have become political con-
who no longer 'buy' inclusive ideological packages or tried-and-
tru ... l cd p:lrt y hra nds, but are still mobili sable around strings of single issues
and afOlllld 'singular ' political pe rsonali ties who re present these issues in :l
t iVl' 1l1:1I1Iwr. What is too readil y compbincc\ ahout :IS politi l·:d cyni -
l l ... 11I III l lVll withdra w: " , l11 ight Tl)l)rl' of"tl.'11 IR':l rl' jl'( 11I 1I 1 pi 11.1111111 111 :11
111 11. 11\ ,11 tll \' I \ I O I 1<, alld \ 11 till ' :Hlilg,lI ht ' II I dl \ l ;lIl l t ,d , \ 1, 11 ,l iI·.,n l lt' d Ihl llll\ . .!
1'1 1111 ....... (1) 1 \,.1 "
IliIIlOlllHIIIJI I 11 11 HI '.IYIII II, III 1'011111::.
Polilical Communication and Political Cullure
The primary :.lim of thi s book is to t.::xplore the nat ure and consequences of
l klngl' in can be seen, broadly, as two separate but related dimensions
of pol iti cal structure and process. First of ali i there are the shifts in ' political
cOlllmunicat ion' and in the whole nature of media-political relations. The
growth of new forms of politi cal marketing, the concern about news man-
agement and 'spin ' and the emergence of new media options for political
publicit y have produced a revised agenda for inquiry here (many of the
chapters that follow cite the rapidly growing literature) . Questi ons on thi s
agenda have become the subject of inte nsifi ed scrutiny and debate, not only
in poli ti cal studi es but in international medi:l research too. This has brought
a welcome dial ogue between these previously rather disparate areas of scholar-
ship; a dialogue that it is one of the ai ms of thi s book to further. Second,
there are changes of various kinds at work in political culture, some of which
we have already pointed to above , The term 'culture' h:ls been put to a wide
range of applications in recent academic wri ti ng and there is some cogency
in the view that it has often been used rather evasively, conflating factors that
mi ght better be differenti ated and becoming an enemy of sociological preci -
sion. Yet the word continues usefull y to signal a range of things sti ll too often
left out of account in many conventi onal research perspectives, even though
the situation is improvi ng. In using the term here, we mean to indicate the
realms of political experience, imagi nation I values and dispositi ons that
provide the settings within which a political system operates, shaping the
characte r of political processes and politi cal behaviour. It is the elements of
poli ti cal culture that, among ot her things, interconnect the 'official ' \Norld of
professional politi cs with the world of everyday experi ence and with the
modes of ' the popular ' variously to be found within work and leisure. One
of the aims of this coll ection is not only to make a stronger link between
questions of political communicat ion and of poli tica l culture but to remedy
the general neglect of the 'cultural' dimension and to show the importance
for political analysis of attending to it more in the future.
It might now be useful to indicate in a littl e more detai l what we see to be
the age nda for further inquiry in each of the two areas identifi ed above,
before moving on to introduce some of the ideas that we had in mind when
commissioning the essays that foll ow.
The relati onship between media and politi cs has, of course, long been the
subject of debate, It is possible to see one approach t o thi s question as taking
an 'enabling' perspecti ve. Here, the assumption is that the media are neces-
sary agents of the practice of modern, popular democracy. Subject to certain
condit ions ( thl' question-begging economi c and regulatory ci rcumstances of a
'frcc Pl\· ...... ' Iwing the most important, on thi s Sl'C thl' nne commentary or
Ibkt 'l, 2tUL' J, Ill t ' li I. II I 11 1:11 ion or knowll'dgl', prl'M' nt:llioll of di vl'r-" ,'
, Iud I I 1111 . .1 ',I 'III III \' " I 1111 \"' 1' 1 n PHW C' I w.ll :1\ I :1 ... :I :11 111H· ti l pnln :11 Iw:dt Ii
11 11 1 , 1\ \1\\ ' \ 111 / 1' 11 ,, 1111' II I II ', " , 11111" ' \ \\ ' 1'·01011.. , \111 .. I'> h, ' llIlIti thl '
II I 1I11"I ,d \ It '\\ til IllI'dl ' l 1'1111111 ,II 11' 1.11 hili " '1'111" I" 1\11\' III willi h, 111 ...01.11 , . .. du'
, .. 111111 II I ' 0 111111 ' 1111" I'> I.II .. nl al ,II I, I;II!-> l'd 11l;t way lilt.,
"l,H t ' llll ,tI I,ll go,)(1 Kant'" nut 1011 n l thl' IWlWl'l'!l ' puhli c-
ly' alld thl' l '}. " l t b,' 01 ' pll hli l r l'aMHl ' is one founding principl l' 01 the
'nahling Vil' W (nn in n:·h.llion to press theory, sec Splichal , 2002),
We can cont rast such tl positi on wi th what we might call t he 'disabling'
)erspccti vc. In this far more f::lIni li ar view, the media are seen as variollsly
lIldermining the practice of democracy or, at least, of having a st rong
to do so. They perform their subversive function through such
outes as the substitution of entertai nment for knowledge, the closi ng off of
rue di verSi ty, the pursuit of an agenda determined primaril y by market
.Jetors and thei r susceptibility to control by government and corporate agen-
ics. These ca n be alternative or combinatory factors wit hin any given
Ccount. Although attempts to assert the case for the 'enabling' view are still
) be found (if nea rl y always with considerable modification to the economi c
nd regulatory ar rangements thought necessary), it is the 'di sabling' view
13t has provided the focus for t he majority of studi es in political communi-
;l tion . Indeed, unease about the political consequences of a developing
Jedia sector provides one clear reason for the growth of media research as
subfi eld of social science, parti cularl y in the USA dur ing the I 940s and
350s. The key question has been: in what ways and to what extent do the
.edia impact negativel y upon politi cal practi ce? The tones in which this
Jestion has been asked have ranged from the urgent and anxious to the
are measured. However, even in those enquiri es framed finall y by a sense
' positi ve reassurance it is important to note how address to the negati ve
ther t han to the positi ve has provided the primary point of reference,
Concern with the perceived negat ive character of media-political relations
n be seen rnost often to work within t he terms of one or other of two
rsions of ' imbalance' , variously qualified. The first version might be call ed
e notion of a politicised media. In thi s, the medi a's independence is seen
be almost entirely circumscribed by the controls of the political system.
Ie realm of politics has effect ive ly superimposed itself upon the realm of
,dia. As independent agencies, the media have been 'shut down' . Many
about the effect of 'spi n' and of political marketing work with a
lse of this kind of imbalance as their basic scenario. The second version
' crses the relat ionship and might be call ed the noti on of a thoroughl y
dial ised politics. Here, it is the realm of politi cs that has become
oni sed by media logics and imperati ves, losi ng its speci ficit y and integrity,
:itics has become an adj unct to show business. Debate about 'infotain-
'nt ' and 'dumbing down ' often uses thi s version as its base model, but it is
course entirely possibl e to regard 'spin ' and ' political market ing' as indi -
ors not of the politi cal control exerted over the media but of the
placement of poli tica l va lues by those of the media system,
T I ll' I \VII 11I1I1i" I .. , II" 11 li t lill' " lil y \11"11111 1{ \, 111 '>1 l1 g .I11 Y .. 0 1
'. I ' P.lI.II\ ' I I· , d II I'> 111 \\11\\, " III '>l il li " k l 11d II I pby·oll nll,Hwl' l g , ' llu'
I1I1j h l"thlll" .. " l ' lI !'>l '. It C III Ill' :lIgul'd tile..'
h, ,\ w,'\' n t hI ' I lled1:! !->y .. t\'111 and thL' politi cal sy:, tcm IS, III Illany countnes,
I ,ll l ou dt.'lhl'ly Ill lt..'rpt' nc..:trating in character to admit of such a separate,
Nevertheless, a to seeing : he com-
pin: Illl.llualily of contemporary polit ical and media systems .st lll leaves
qUl' !'O ti ons of relat ionship, causality and value to be asked, even If these.
now seen to be more 'i nternal' , partial and contingent in character. ThiS IS
;t challenge for a new generation of researchers in. and in
Inl'di3 studies, In facing it , the term ' politi cal communtcatlon wil l need to
Ill' rejected as the defining label for what is under scrutiny. It is both too
limi ting in it s suggest ed scope (centred, sometimes exclusively, upon
, oliti cal publi city and political journali sm and with a bias towards electoral
and too functi onalist in its impli cati ons of a defined role self-
consciously performed. Working terms that cat ch more at the breadth and
complexity of mediated politics, and at the indirectness of much of what
is significant, will be needed.
The second broad area in which thi s coll ecti on attempts to open up new
lines of enquiry, political culture, clearl y has a substantial overl ap w.ith the
agenda, both established and emerging, around mediati on. QuestIons of
communication and of culture have always been hard to separate but never
more so than now. Perhaps the most central questi on here concerns the
changing terms upon which everyday life is lived and 'the and 'the
private' defined in relation to each other. How do politi cs and po],tlClans fit
within these broader contours of experience, framed by new routmes of
work and leisure and producing their own forms of self- and social con-
sciousness, of aspiration and anxiety, hope and disillusionment?
Consumerism, Celebrity and Cynicism
Three C's, consumeri sm, celebrity and cynicism, are key factors in
attention here, In many countries, the emphasis on the consumer wlthm
relations of market provision has extended well beyond the core areas of
trade and shopping. It has shaped revised forms of public servi ce, including
education and health, and it has inevitably pl aced politicians in the role, at
least partiy, of being 'servi ce providers '. To some commentators,
consciousness has brought an end to deference and a clearer sense of quality
and choi ce. It has worked against producer controls and has thus exerted
what can finally be seen as an empowering, democratising effect upon those
social areas in which it has become prominent . Rather than undermllllllg
citizenship, it has reinforced it by supplying new kinds of awareness and expec-
tations. To other writers, the prominence of the consumer and the language of
\ \111 ',111111' 11 "> 111 IIlIlh , III ' lin' I. 11111 I , Hl lI 111'11 11\'(\\1'1 ' 11 III.nkl·\ V; .!lIl. "
,lIul tklll\!\ L ith dl'\I , l lIl' lI lt ' nt
1'\11 111., t\1 ,,· It,llrlly. 1II\lllVIIl h 'lI' latlwd pl.' rlorlll:lllll· wit hin (undili ons nl
IIH'di:l vi\ lhdlt y ;:lIld, quite oft en, vigorous media scrut iny, are a
major feature of contemporary culture. Alongside the more est abli shed
'publi c figures', a whole new range of people from t elevision, sport, popular
music and ot her areas of entertainment have become, if only temporarily,
members of a celebrity system that ext ends to the international level. This
is a syst em reinforced, indeed sustained, by the busy circuits of publi city and
promotion within audi o-visual and print culture, As we not ed at the start of
thi s introducti on, among its latest recruits are the parti ci pants in t elevision 's
new 'reality programmes', These constitute a bottom level of regularly
repl eni shed celebrity, anchored in the ordinary by the very nature of their
Political promi nence, both as fame and as notori ety, has been substantiall y
re-worked in t enns of the broader pattern, A new aesthetics of the politi cal
self has been fa shioned and it is to the further explorati on of thi s, among
other t hings, that we wish to point in our discussion below of the idea of
political style, The examinati on of political performances, their settings and
the kinds of response they receive arc a common theme in a number of the
pieces that follow,
Inter-linked both with questions of consumeri sm and of celebrity is the
issue of political cynicism, For some commentators, as our opening remarks
suggested, the increase in cynical disposition, perhaps most not iceable in low
electi on turn-outs but by no means limited t o electoral periods, is the single
most worrying element of contemporary politics. Often, media treatment of
politi cs is blamed for reinforcing if not causing the tendency, al though some
Il"ledia managers have pointed t o the difficulties t hey fa ce in making politics
interest ing to their audiences and readershi ps, particularl y to the young,
Another oft en cited cause is the adoption of more aggressively commercial
forms of poli tica l marketing in many countries and the negative and more
di st anced att itudes t owards political activity that thi s is said t o have encour-
aged, It is interest ing to note just how much thi s moot ed 'effect ' contrasts
wit h the idea of a happily compliant, misinformed citizenry projected in other
aCCOunt s.
Behi nd the question of cyni cism, and often entirely unaddressed, are
assumptions about what kinds of investment people should make in politics
and what kind of expectation they should have of politicians, Here, we con-
nect with contemporary versions of a venerable issue - the rat ional grounds
for polit ical affil iation and action and the interplay of these with a more
"fft'tt ive dynamics, with the realm of feelings and even of fantasy, Enquiry
l1l're hegins to interrogate the very notion of political ' representat ion' and the
fo rms of relati onship and responsibility it supposes. A number of writers
h:wc rl' ccntl y revisited thi s t opic, examining the kinds of criteria which
I ,. IIILI III.II \ t ' I'>LIIII ', t tl II · PIl ·',I.'IILIIIOI1 III IILI' . L .... I · ..... 'H'I11 \11 I1h' I l. . 1
llt' II 'III1I , lIh \' , Ind . 11 , 0 It I lilt' PI ·ll o ll ".tlLll ' " I ' 1'111111 ' 1 ' I Ilt / l ' l1 , h lP 1111 ,
1,. IIII,llkl . 1 III II IIht · t tl l th.lIl1l ·I ' ptll"tt' lnddll ' lt' 1I1 \\ .1\ '
I'olilical Style
( t11 1' III'lI.' n ' lll, n ..·I<..'bri l Y. :lnd (or polit ical indiffercnn')' lllll'
It'gt,ther r,',lrULLurc the field for political representation :lIld good
"llIp, dnwnpbying forms of ideological and
",ltlltl1'l'grounding matters of aesthetics and style. Political st yle
II pt 'I:Hl''s as a focus for post-ideological lifest yle choi ces, which are indilkr-
1' 11\ til lhe entrenched oppositi ons between trnditional ' isms' and their insti -
I I II HH1:ilisat ion in the form of politi cal parties (For example, left us. right or
pillgrt.:ssivc us, conservative), and which fa vour more eclecti c. fluid, isslIt' -
, Pt '\ ilk and personalit y-bound forms of political recogniti on and cngJgt' -
111l' IH, Whil e all parties t end to become centre pa rti es and reproduce thl'
d"'i", iuns of the politi cal spectrum within themselves, vot ers increasingly
Ilo;lt away from these empty cubicl es in order t o identify with public indi -
\ ,dllals or celebri ties who condense parti cul ar themes and emotions in a
' I"' t tacular display of charact er and st yle,
Increasingly, people want t o vote for persons and thei r ideas rather than
lor poli ti cal parties and thei r programmes, Thei r so-call ed 'apathy' or lack or
II1lercst (which is often a legitimate lack of interest in the interests of
, al profeSSionals) is at least t o some extent count erbalanced by a di S-
tracted interest in political infot ai nment and celebrity, framed wlthlll the
pl'rmanent campaigning, marketing and poll ing rhythms that charact eri se a.
fully grown media democracy. This interest is faci li tated by new forms 01
visual and emotional literacy, which all ow audiences t o ' read' politi cal char-
acters and 'ttl ste' their style, enabling them to judge their claims of authen-
ti ci ty and competence in a marc effective manner, The ..ous
exposure of political personae lends them a strange famlli anty
despite the sharp asymmetry that separates the visible few from the
hie many, still t o some ext ent bridges the gap between them, In generatIng
such new structures of proximity and dist ance, t elevision democracy offers
new ri sks but also new opportunities for democratic representation and
This new visibility of persons and the affective identificati on they attract
represents a broader cultural shift that fit s the individualisation of politi cal
trust into more general sociological patterns of de-institutionali sation and
personalisation, The proliferation of differences within insti tutions (such as
politi cal parties) and social categories (such as class) spills over and t ends to
blur the boundaries betweell them, while individual s themselves travel more
Freely across these institutional and classificatory boundari es, Increasingl y,
111 , 11111111111' , ill' H'PII ""' UI"d ,lIld Idt'll1dlt'd IIv IIII' IlIdl \ .dll ,tll.l, t " \dll,'llIllIt '
th"l1l Br.II1'ilJl, I ,ahour Hlan). , ...,1 II It , { ' tllllI " 1I1t11\1\1I . , d , lllll! Il1tO
a fe:o. ull or their IllL'dialL'd uh,qult y , 1I 1t1 IIIIIVI,,,,11 lallH' . TilL'
cenlral significance of celebrity cullure for Lim. new \ oll,t,' lbuoll b lh:ll
public figures embody stylised forms of individuality, whllh offer a tempo-
rary focus for ident ificat ion and organisat ion by fl uid coll ect ives (or 'audi -
ences:) in the 'classless:, individualised, broader culture (Marshall, 1997).
Such audIence subJects, as Marshall calls them, appropriately express both
a unique individualit y and the social power of a parti cul ar group. Within this
context: individuals .attempt to make sense of social experi ence through
celebrating and select Ively identifying with the lifestyles of public personal iti es.
This system of celebrity power is progressively being translated from the
popular entertainment industri es towards more 'seri ous' fi elds such as busi-
ness, politics, art and science. In thi s respect, the new forms of publicity that
are generated by cel ebrity culture (and media culture more generally) also
tend toblur the ' liberal' demarcations between the social spheres of culture,
the polity, and the economy} pressing for a mutual interpenetrati on of for-
merly distinct ' field logics' or 'system codes'. Such a de-differentiation is, for
example, promoted by the discourse about 'enterpri se culture' which, as we
have noted above, intrudes upon political reality in the form of performative
metaphors about polit ical marketing} branding, and ci ti zen-consumershi p.
Such a push for the 'economisation' of politics (and culture) is immediately
by a drive for the cultura lisation of politi cs (and the economy),
wh, h defines some of the structural shifts which have been identifi ed
above. Both the new 'cultural economy ' and the new 'cultural politi cs' evi-
dence an intemleshing of formerly distinct values and codes, which brings
out the new prominence of discursivi ty, symbol-making, and aesthetic design
for and polit ica l practice. Media culture acts as a central energi ser
of thIS process of de-differentiation, forCing a 'style revolution' in other
social domains that is si multaneously a process of aestheticisation emoti on-
ali sation and celebrification. In this culture of universal promotion' (Wernick
199 1), institutions such as parties and ideologies primarily survive as brands'
while the onl y future for political personality is that of celebrity. Art and
the artistic life turn into models for political (and economic) behaviour'
and bohemian indiViduality and authenti city emerge as the core values of
thoroughl y aestheticised capitalism.
Aesthetic Politics
That politics is not a science but an art, and that political representation
follows an aesthetic rather than rationalistic logic, has been themati sed more
cl ea rl y by the Romanti c than by the Enlightenment tradition in Western
politi cal thought . The idea of poli ti cs as theatre, focusing on spectacle, style,
I -IIltlllllll, 'li lt ,t! III'I ,.il lI ,lhl\, h,,, 11\ ' \ ' 1\ 1'111 IlIlt' \",1\ II,,' \\111i P,IIII\ 111.11
I III I " , I lid 11.l1l1ho\ , 1111. I ' hy I.UIII ,.1 • Ig lil 1111 \\ I'll II 'III' ,Iod I I II I hL·
\V,I):IWI I , III .. tllH 1'1'llillI II I 1,\,llliI ;1I ; 11 t, 1111' :. t ;llt' :IIHI till' IWllpll' Wl'n' vil-'wed
, 1',, 1 (;I',/lIIIII.."",I/I'",J.:, ,,11Il h pohllL'al arli!ll would !)h:lpc out
,II till · ,I IHI lll .... Illatll'r 01 lh..: popular mass. For a Marxist
1I111uH '1 lll h ;I' Ih'llr:.lmin t the of politics was therefore
, I IllgU ,lllUlOILlIY or the ploy to give the masses a grandiose expres-
'1\'. ;l llil (r:ILilL.tI nalionalism and total war), whi h would conveni ently
ddh'l l their l'nl'rgil's from attacking the structure of capitalist exploitation.
11 111 khl'illief and Adorno's pessimistic anal ysis of the culture industries
(I I"rklll'illler and Adorno, 1979; Adorno, 199 1) generalised this critique to
"IlUHllpa!lS the modern cult of celebrity and pscudo-individuali ty in post-
\';I 'l i!ll Western liberal democracies.
Ilowevcr, it call be argued that this negative or 'di sabling' view of aesthetic
plllilics fails to capture its true signifi cance for aUf own media-saturated
pnlilical culture. As Horkheimer and Adorno realised, the aestheticisation
drive did not remain confined to right-wing political movements and regi mcs,
hilt carried a much broader hi storical resonance that tied it in with long-term
processes of massification and mediati sation. Indeed, Le Bon 's of the
nL'W emotive relationship between leader mass ( 1960), Barres's view of
politics as emotional energy (cf. Hillnch, 1979: 105-6), Durkheim's noti on
of 'collective effervescence' ( 1995), and Weber's account of charismatic
democracy' (1988, 1994) offered earl y pointers towards forms
\) 1' theatrical, spectacular and performative politics that have meanwhile
,'merged across the whole breadth of the politi cal spectrum. Pioneered by
arti stic movements such as Futurism and Surrealism, such new political
, tyles and techniques were first consolidated and professional ised by t he
Fascist and Socialist regimes, whi ch turned mass prop:Jganda and
mass ritual into an art form and made unprecedented use of newly ava il able
technologies of communication and mobility. But already, duri ng the 1920s
and I 930s, the iconography and histrioni cs of right-Wing politi cal activism
were successfull y copied by centre- left movements such as Chri sti an demo-
cracy and revisioni st socialism, as was for example evidenced in the agi tation
for the Plan of Labour that swept Belgium and other European countries
during the I 930s.
The subsequent evoluti on of political democracy has demonstrated that
aesthetic styli sation is an inherent and inevitable feature of mass politi cs,
particul arl y in its (post)modern mediated form. We cannot therefore leave
the aestheticisation of politics to the historical (and contemporary) right, but
must instead contemplate its role in enabling new forms of representation
and a further democratisation of democracy. Instead of aggravating the dan-
gers of spectacular politics, emoti onal identifi cati on and charismatic leader-
ship/ the unprecedented spread of new technologies of communicati on has
in a sense neutralised their authoritarian ri sk, by 'l owering the poli tical hero
tonlll I I)S"l j .lI,d, till ' 1 '1 '1 1111,11 111{1111.1\ \ . 11 . 1 tll .... I. IIl U.
tll .11 dl.II .1t 1I·1I ..... · ... till ' Il ' I,II I OII .... I)lp h "I"I'! ' U IlIlIdl ' l II 1111 ' 111. 1 1\ ·II ,hl1ll1· ..... I nd
lht' lI I an Ilkl' III 01 dl ·lIll1l l.lll l pllll.dl .... III .ll ul lllt'dlatl.d
politkal compl· tili OIl, lht..· 1) inglt' God- lIkl' pnlllll. .d wll u :1
nalional unity is repbced by a whole Itrmaml'nt 01 Illtif..' who
nse and fall in a never-endi ng game of publ ic reputatian-m:.lking-ancl-breaking,
and who can mobilise only parti al and fl eeting forms of consensus which
lack an integrative nucleus of values ar beliefs. Under such new
of mediated visibility and ' thin' solidari t y, a politics of personal style may
.democrat ic effects, by expanding the platforms far engagement and
cItI zenshIp, and by orfering forms of popular appeal and emoti onal identifi-
cation that cut through technocrati c smoke-screens and institutional inertia.
A performative polit ics foregrounds the politi cian as an act or, whose perfor-
mance 011 the public st;.l ge is continuously judged in terms of authentic it y
honesty and 'character' . '
The Presentation of Political Self
Inevitably, therefore, questions concerning the nature of the polit ical 'self ',
IIlcludmg questions about the nature of self-consciousness and of political
need t o be rai sed at a number of different points in any study
of culture. Here, the work of Erving Goffman (classically, Goffman,
19)9) provides an indi spensable source of ideas and perceptions. For profes-
SIonal politICians, ' the presentation of self in everyday life' involves the man-
agement of a number of different roles, many of them performed in a
cultural cont ext where the relat ionship and interplay between 'publi c' and
realms is indeterminate and changing. The 'styling of t he self' in
poiJtl CS, t he projecti on of pol it ica l personal is part ly a m:.1tter of choice
(a conscious ' branding' exercise designed to sharpen profile) and pa rtl y a
reqUired reacti on to the t erms of media visibil ity that now frame and inter-
pret political act ion in many countries.
There are SOCiological issues here, certainl y. We cannot understand Con-
t emporary political processes and settings unl ess we at least engage with the
kinds of identity that politi cians project and the relation of these to popular
percepti ons and judgements. Issues of 'strength' and 'weakness', of the
'trustworthy' and the 'sly' , of the perceived limits of 'ambiti on' are central
to the organisation of popular political feelings. The way in which politicians
are assessed, both as l1"1 embers of a professional grouping and also as some.
how representati ves of the people, articulating differing versions of 'common
sense', is crucial too. Thi s assessment connects outwards t o the broader iden-
tities they enj oy as celebri ties, the subj ects of polit ical gossip and of specu-
lati on as to the dee per, more private, personaliti es that li e behind the
personae adopted for the duti es of offi ce.
II II'll ' I .... .1.... 0 ,1 I"'\,\ ,,I dUIIl'Il .... lilII A .. Alh ll\'\V S. III1IWI .... I, ., .... oh"" l vl'd
Is.ulllwl .... JODI J. pIIIIIII .... 11:. ..... 1 ..... . . ( It ' l Ilk',:1 lI . m . llI vl· 1I 1 Hlll l'l 11I:lII:l
l ' lIll' nl
.IIH l lt · I1 .... IIIII. II I ...... 1111.11 1011 . 111.1 11..-.11'. Aldwu)!.h Il I .... 1l 1OM ultl.·!) III llil' gl,.·'ln: of
.lllhlhlllhl. lpily .llId hlllgl.lrhy that a!oop"'ll b rdlcctl.:'d upon in any
·. tI .... t.llnl'd W,IV, tlll'n' an' in till.:' of politics that may
I .l1l1ll\l· to Illakt·1I1l· !t nk hetween the 'inner' and the 'outer ' more prominent
III till' lut\lrt· . Rt"lt'Wl'd interest in questions of 'trust', af 'sincerity', and of
. 1 Plllllll ... th3t escapes the distort ions of 'system', is one feature of
!lln'nt changes in the t erms of politi cal culture.
'I'llI...' Iangu:1ge that politi cians use has, rightly, been seen as one key test of
t li l'l r integrity and quality and, perhaps less pOSiti vely, of their strategic acu-
III\ ·n. Finding the ' ri ght ' kind of language to address particular audi ences on
' p'·cilk topics is among the primary chall enges to those seeking and holding
I'tl liti cal office. The forms of language in use will necessaril y reflect in part
lilt' broader shifts in publi c and cultural coi nage. Terms and phrases can lose,
ilr gain, credibility and cogency within the space of a year or so, while if we
",mpared the political language of, say, Britain in the 1960s with Britain
today, a whole shift in register, vocabulary and rhetorical organisation wauld
I,,'come apparent (see for instance Fairclough, 2000). One key move has
hl'en towards more informal kinds of address, ones better suited t o mediati on
through television than those deriving from older forms of public oratory.
Informality suggests 'closer' relationships, and the move t owards a more
,olloquial political language has often gone along with an attempt to recon-
ligure political relations in a way that goes beyond the hierarchy and the
[erms of deference and condescension characterising older models. The 'per-
'ional' has a long hi story in political appeal, strategica ll y augment ing the
' public' when thought necessary, but many of our chapters show ta what
degree fa ctors have become prominent in political life. Thi s has
:>hown itself in an increased use of personali sed comment (in tone and in
content) not only in the projection of politi cal identity but nl so in the
defence of policies.
Political Deceit
Perhaps the oldest questions to be asked about the politi cal self are those to
do with motive and with honesty. Politi cians have come to be seen, interna-
tionall y, as invet erate liars, creating an expectation against which 'honesty' is
a novelty. Thi s perception derives partl y from an ancient scepticism about
t he gui le of rul ers (wonderfull y articulated by Ma hi avelli, in an account that
escaped its sixteenth century context to become defining) . However, modem
forms of democracy and the growth of new patterns of politi cal communi-
cation have added to, and revised, the t erms of suspicion. They have also
reconfigured the cond itions for being honest and for bei ng truthful. In part,
1111 ' \ h . I\I · j!\, ... lIhlllt'l l pHIII I\ I. 1I 1 ... 'oil Ii!"l 'ph \ \1111111 1111 11 " 111 '0 0 1 /1/1(, /' 11/ \ '.
\\ Ul ll ll ........ t·'I' lIll. 1'1.' 1'1, . 1"" 1111. dnll . .! ,lIhlllllllll\' I .. , ... ,'ltll.lIl
111;." "' IIl:lnv ," UHllpl t, tt.: hunl..·' I V h., plIl)',I '" ,I '"
naIve, Onl..' might that lhl.' pragmatic..: t..llll h" t' 11I 1 1'IIIIIIl ,II "' Pl 'I'l..h trade
on a rout ine, professional insincerity in a manner not l..' nt ll l' ly unlike the
conventi,ons. of the adverti Sing industry (see Mayhew, I for a stri king
re-examInatIon of thi s compari son) . It is the expanded circumstances of visi-
bility and noti on:J1 accountability within which modern politicians work that
have, a littl e paradoxicall y, helped to create a more elaborate repertoi re of
deceit and evasion in politi cal speech. The publi c speech of politi cians is
addressed to three broad categori es of significant addressee _ to other politi-
clans,. to Journaltsts and to sections of the general public. I n openly reported
sp.eakmg, different pri orities of combination will Occur according to the situ-
atI on. ?f course, there are many subcategori es here too, crenting a complex
dynami cs of communicati ve design ;lnd anticipation.
In a suggesti ve essay, Arendt ( 1973) considers ' lying' as something part ly
to do with the very nature of the political imaginati on and its tendency
towards the proj ecti on of aspirations and goal s not quali fied by compromi se.
Certainly, an openl y ideological politics may di spl ay this utopi an vein, but
the more 'manageriali st ' politics with which many of us are now familiar
seems to resort to deceit as much in its reacti ve moments as in its consid-
ered publici ty. This is often in an attempt to pre-empt the bad news, to re'ls-
sure on a point of growing anxiety, to hold a compromise position between
shifting and mut uall y suspicious interest groups or points of view. The chang-
ing conditi ons of polit ical trust and their relationship both to medi a practi ce
to codes of political honesty are an important aspect of politi al culture,
whIch have so far received less attention than they deserve.
The Organisation of Ihis Book
As indi cated before, the ' aesthetics ' of politi cal representat ion and the
salience of poli t ical style are central issues in the new approaches to political
culture that are advanced this book. The next chapter by Frank Ankersmit
develops an intriguing anal ogy between the notion of political style and
Schumann 's notion of the ' inner voice': a melody that is not actuall y played
but strongly suggested by what is played. Polit ical reality Simil arl y arises in
the g ap bet ween what is objectively there and what is merely suggested.
Whde the ' classical' vi ew defines political reality as basicall y transpa rent,
unambiguous and consensual, leaVing no room for the 'inner voice' of politics
'romantic' political theory acknowledges its essential ambivalences and
perspectival connicts, frol11 which political truth emerges as an ' inner voice'
and in the form of a new politi cal style. In the complex symphony of demo-
cratic politics, style is at work between politi cal form and political content
1III I I It'I\\l ' I ' 1i I "1'1 t ''.I' 1I1I ' I ', . IIHII l'\HI " ( ' lI l l ' d , lilt' " IIIIll\' t I l polll ll . .1
1 " .. 111\\1 \ III Ih, ' 11 111 ' 11'1.1\ Iwl \\ I "' 1I 1111 ' It ·ll k ind , 111.1 tl., ' Il l!, ht h,llld 01 dll'
, 1" 11 11111.1 11 \ I' I \I\l "'"
lilt' Inll n\\ IIl I!, I h'IP1l ·1 hv k l l ltll.. :lll y Ankl' rsrni t 's
1I " t ll •. II \ :IPllI \I:1\ 11 111 a I,hl l'l ' di rt' cti on. by how the con-
.1111 1111 ... II I poi Il k nll ly and dif'fcrl.' nn' are changing under the impact of
1, ·ll·\I' '' :l lln and the new prominence of style. The bri ef politi cal
1. 11· ,111 .1 dramatit d(,3th of' Pim Fortuyn, the medi agenic political dandy who
l 'lll'l l ed a major 'style break' in Dutch political culture, is used as a focus for
Ih ... ,u ..... ing the new forms of personality politics, political celebrity and
Il, lLIMlCi:.l l ' quasi-inti rnacy that are restructuring the fi eld of politi-
1 • .1 rl'cogniti on and (di s) trust . Parasoci al identification stages a novel proxi-
IllIl y bch,vcen representers and represented that is counterbnlanced by the
dl :lll1ati c di stance that inevitabl y ren1ains between celebrities and 'civilians'.
Whde politi cal personaliti es adopt more aestheti c forms of selF-display,
l lli /.cns increasingly judge them on the basis of 'emoti onal intelligence' and
of political tnste, In thi s sense, the styli sation of politics
hridges the representati ve gap and may inspire a further democrati sntion of
dl'lllocracy - even though the ri sk of false intimacy and obsessive identifi ca-
t ion remains,
As is clear from the above, issues around the new forms of t he personal in
politics arc cl ose to the centre of many chapters in thi s volume. John Corner
makes thi s his primary focus . Taking up the idea of ' persona' , he reviews the
l hanging character of professional political identity, politi cal performance
,md the interconnecti ons with new forms of medi a portrayal. The approach
IS schematic, outlining features of structure and process that now intercon-
nect ' pri vate' and ' public' dimensions of politi cal life both in politi cal jour-
nali sm and in the broader sphere of polit ical gossip and celebrit y culture.
Corner assesses how popular politi cal sentiment relates to ideas of politi cal
personality, a focus for cynicism yet tl continuing point of attraction, and
looks at new terms for considering the perennial deb3te about politi cal
honesty and politi cal deceit. How far can personalisati on be seen a' a denial
of proper democratic engagement and to what ext ent might it actuall y return
politics to a more productive recognition of motives, values and bel iefs?
John Street continues the focus on politi cal personality by developing
furt herthe idea of ' politi cal celebrity' and the relationship with populor culture.
Street begins his chapter by reviewing a number of theori es of democracy in
relati on to how the ' peopl e' rigure as arbiters of politi cal value and as the
addressees of political publi cit y. He then looks at cont emporary features of
political performance, linking them to other forms of cultuml stardom both
in their production and consumpti on. The idea of a 'cool politics' is explored
criti call y, making reference to the attempt by the Blair government in Britain
to link itself more closel y with style and success in the popular art s. What
kind of criteri a might be used in assessing a politics that is morc openly
11 111 11 , .1 ,lIu l l'\'dHI III ' I II\C I II II ... ,II ' IIt ', 1I I II ""
,nudd dlt 'v dtlk, 1' 111 11 1111 11\'
I · ... "1\ '\ ItH Ill ' ul pII ll ln. 1I IlIdgl ' I nt'1I 1 I
11m. Ill'\\! :lI lIlII l.ll hHl I ll'lwl'l '!l puhu 1 I
culture furt hL' !" explored h Lit'sh' 1':'\ \1 1111 . 111\ t ' ,11 11 1 " ll l, ' 1 Ln lll lll'nt
'soaping' of politics The I ' Y, d \ , 111 Z.uOl1t'll III hl ' l l h,'ph' r lI ll thl'
reference fi rst of U l lqultaus prest.'nee 01 thl' :-.oap OIJl'ra :J rramc of
operates as a crit ical meta pi I ' I
vi ewer at a di stance from th f . ), l o r, W li e 1 posi tions the
with scandal and spin that and obsession
carries a gendered subte t . g y ,dsf, gure politIcal life. This criti que
x Since, over an against the trad't" 1 d
o moderni st and 'macho' h f . . 1 lana ominance
ence, the generic 0 ratlOnallht
, struggle and public pres-
. pare usua y associated with f . .
va ues, t 1e pri vate sphere and the emot· I I·
B h emmme
. I lon3 li e. ut t e soap t h
slmu taneously e xpresses a sense f "'d me ap or
people's capacit y to become pr7vI ing symbols that explore
esting characters and storylin I h Y IOVO ved and connected to inter-
tics, whi ch suggests a more t understanding of poli -
popul ar cul ture, virtues whi ch were traditionall y and
feminInity 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 of
Margaret Scammell 's chapter. The central art provIdes the focus for
a critical examinati on of the case a' , p k . ,her account IS gIVen over to
age done to democr gatnst mar etlng. What precisely is the dam-
terms of critique of thls approach in politics? What do the
tic practice' Older mod I f u k
presumed limIts and liabilities of democra-
, e s 0 mar etlng presupposed th . II
of the 'customer-consumer' b t S II I k e essentla y passive role
idea of 3 much more 3ctiv: shifts suggesting the
S!,ifts beyond
. I . P an suggests much that cannot use full be · d
WIt lin the total ising terms of d . h h Y vlewe
Th ... esp31r t at ave sometimes been ado t d
here-posIt IOning of citi zenship, both as an identity a d p e : ,
t e maIO concern of L..1nce Bennett As ' S n as a practi ce, IS
consumer roles is seen as signifi cant' H' m
cammell , the convergence with
factors, including a decline in the apter the princi pal
electoral polit ics drawing closer to I and an
changes. For him as for other c .b g, e s, t at underpin current
, ontn utors a new politics' . . h
is more fragmented, more personali sed and' . IS emergll1g t at
than the kinds of establi shed . .. symbohc and far less predi ctable
his reading of the current It IS primarily on
lems of democratic value that th' . n Amenca, Be nnett registers the prob-
tive routes of ci vic involvement to di splace effec-
the newer critic I . e same time he finds some hope in
that do more : h energles
of activism and possibilities for re-building
between political the finstituti onal connections
e practices 0 government.
1\ I', nl ll 'P""hlt ' t il I IL "I I1', '" \ 1I 1H'lI l \ !,, ", gl · ... I lL l 111 h tll . d l, tI"Ll I' wl ll hHll
... nlllt' 1 \\ 11 11\'\ I ltlll "'L1 h "1· 1, . lt l · ... ,Iholl l ' , Il 'W Ilh·dl. , · ,IIllI .. huut dw U ... l · ...
.lIId 1'\111 '"11,.1 Itl II Il' I HI \ ' l lwl PI · H' .. dll .... lrl.' atlll l' nt
III .I l 11 ,lpl l' l Ih:l l ha .... :1 dlHlhk 0 1 :111 , Ill' detail ed,
\ nn til l ' Idl'a ul ' LiVic Lult urc·. id..: ntif'ying the dirfere nt dimen-
"' hltl' th:lt IlI ah· li p :, 'circuit ' or values and processes in w' hich the medi a
11.1\ l' lI\ L'vltably hl'COllll' dCl'ply implicated. He then moves on to look at how
' lll'W media' an..' rcconfiguring the dynamics of this ci rcuit, in ways whose
1,11.11 directi on and consequence can still onl y be the subject of speculati on.
l in\\' an: onli ne polit ical actions related to offl ine ci tizenship? What is bei ng
I '\"l' \l cd up in the civic ci rcuit and what is at risk of being cl osed down?
I lahlgrcn concludes by surveying a number of websites, a selective trawl that
.li lnws a provisional reading of the various orientat ions and possibilit ies of the
IWW politi cal terrain , putting some hope in the 'new informal politi cs' that is
Ill'coming visibl e there .
Jon Simons pursues the link between the populari sati on of culture and
lhe democrati sati on of politi cs on a more g neral level, developing a case
.Igai nst eliti st criti cs who despair about universal commodificati on and the
pl'Tni ciouS influence of the medi a. This intellectual pessimi sm about popular
democracy and the aestheticisation of culture should largely be underst ood
,I'" a lament about the loss of relevant cultural capital, whi ch has traditionall y
bcen invested in typographi c rather than televisual forms of communicati on.
Il owever, political elites necessaril y operate in a ri sky arena, since electoral
competiti on must be conducted with the help of aestheti c technologies
and media formats that are largely orie nted to visuality, emotionality, com-
merciali sm and entertainment. The dominant rati onali sti c orientation of
these elites tends to obscure the criti cal and demo rati c potenti al that is
offered by visual and emoti onal literacy and the contradictions of media
culture , whi ch inevitabl y conjure up the ri sks of sensati onali sm, parody, and
scepti cism.
In the final chapter, Bronislaw Szerszynski re-engages the central dil em-
mas of aesthetic representation and politi cal st yle not so much from the
'elevated' perspective of political elites but 'from bel ow', focusi ng upon the
peculiar dramaturgy of ecological protest politics. Their politi cal semi oti cs
include a speci fi c visuali sation and aesthetic typing of protest actors, which
facilitate the emoti onal identification with strangers who are clearl y marked
out as di fferent from the norm, but who simultaneously claim to embody a
higher moral legitimacy. Since thi s gap between particul arity and universal-
ity is bridged by a politi cal aesthetiC, st yle displ ay also makes these politi cal
actors vulnerable to being seen as acting out a particul ar identity or a private
sentiment (for example, that of frustrated middl e-class children, troubl e-
makers, or youthful ideali sts) , denying them the right t o speak more repre-
sentatively. Extending Sennett's hi storical parall el between theatre and
publ ic life, Szerszynski argues that contemporary protest actions exemplify
Critical Tensions: Pessimism and Optimism
In diffcre nt ways all 0 'b
between modern;st .. with a critical tension
, ep Ions 0 hIgh' I't' 'h' h ' ,
113115111 and 'high' science • d " f ' . po I ICS, Ig Jour-
I ..
a vanety 0 romant " h "
l11ative' views which elabor'>te f 1C, aest etlC or 'per for-
a matters 0 represcntat" . I I ' d
level t he traditiona l hierarchy with ' low' I, IOna stye,; or er to
practi ces and ski lls of world-maki n I A PO,PlI dr c,u l t ll re and more ordinary'
cbrianal certainties in politics pol 'Itlgc'. I ,rglllnSI,:lgmnst object ivism and Foun-
o I CI )Oll rna Ism 'Inc! pol't" . I ' ' h
varlOllsly re habil itate persp'ct' , I ' ' I lea SCIence, t ey
C lV15 11\ nest let lc st yli ,:> . I ' ,
infofl11r:!lI'tY' lld' I I ng, emotlOn,J Int elligence
< <l Vl $U<l ell tLl fe i.l S pass' ll d' ,
and democratic cit izensll l' p S I I) e conl' lilts '? r polit ica l representation
. UC 1 <1 perfOrl1la tl vc I' f
IlKl y incorporate an illterest' rest y IIlg a politics
mg conve rgence bet . f
performativity (such as elaborated b s ecch <.l ' 0 Ii.nguistic
- see for exam Ie Faircl y p n t eory or cri t ICa l discourse
logical theories of acti: h' l ough, 2
000) and sociologica l and ant hropo-
n w IC 1 genera Ise the met If ' .
ma nce [Coffman 1959' l ' 1982) ap lor 0 art ISt ic perfor-
, " urner, and f 't f II I' k
'performa nce theory' in theatre" d ' d' rUI u y III - up with
, , ., n mUSIc stu ICS [see C I 1996 c
critica l survey), The latter' fl ar son, lor a
10 uences consecrate a shift fr d '
nantly discursive or textual view of performativity a d om a pre
a more ' tacit ', material, or ' practical' view fa per to.wards
bodily encounters and 'l' b' d ' I' h CUSts upon aesthetiC dI splay,
I I Ina attnc mt:nts t o b' d
(Schieffel in, 1998; Thrift 2000, P I H , ' 0 Jeers an s paces
2002), In straddlin the ': ,', e s', cthcnngt on and Vanden berghe,
id spcec h and th; of rrolitical rationality and polit-
dress code, and ot her stage props of I" sl aect" body language, ' looks',
immediately maps on to tho' I . po ItI C.l pel fOll1l ancc, thiS perspect ive
c IIlC USlve concept of I" I I I
made central to the book. po It lGI stye t lot we have
a notion of per formativity also engages a different cone .
politi cal truth (and hence of the poll't l'cal "f' f ept lon of
l )
, ' slgnl ICa nce 0 lying' d d '
a Jove, In recognising the ineradicabil it or. . . an ecelt, see
tivist logic of desc . t' h Y pCI spectlVl sm and the construc-
np Ions t at co-produce What th d 'b Th
discourse of politics [and of' I' d f oy escn e, e modernist
eulties in experienCi ng style 0 sti ll has regular diffi.
A perforrnalive and reflexive 0 Its aspirations towards transparency.
political natura lism as a sin ular ,on the other hand, acknowl edges this
to recognise itself as such Tgh.' I exdampl e of a representationa l style that fail s
. IS ea s On to another i .
dimension of the not ion of.c '" mportant epi stemological
pef lormat lvl t y: ItS ca p'lCity to Il 'rb
< co our crossovers
I WI \\ I ' I ' O pld, :I ' IIIIIII " ,I! \. d'I' · .",,1 jllllf,I'I III ' ul " II I I.hl 1",1""11. "lI d" .I11 P' "
"llI l lIhllltll'-o \I'ullllt 1")!fIlt! till' H' .1i1l1 II! '. 11111 Lit 1II , d d" '-o t ''1,111111, II1P'. \ Id
t 11t'111 • .1 , ,, I ",:111'" t I,, · III II ' t ,'" hd II )' Id " I It'lll II II .J! Iv' lit ' 1111 .dl ', II I1: Iii 11111.111\, '
""H" :Llld 1'1111111 . 11 \111\\, ' 111'. II 1.11 l' ;l lld \,; 11111" 11111.1 dWII I",h,\ ·, III ' 0,11111 . .1
pln'"lIlly' (1'1' 1." lh ·1). LiWII' 1:111 Ill' IHJ 1I111l ' IJut I IIJlIl lud}!.c' Il11·nh
,Ihlll it tilt.' \'n: lhli nj!, ' of t.l l l.UI'II·llllhallj!,I'!'o III t1w b ntl,,; '1 w
III politics. 1n:.l I'PI!:>tl'lllOlogy, pl...·!:>:-.irn l!'oll 1 I II OpUIIII' 1I1
,Ihollt the Future of democracy and tht' of civic cli iturt' l":lnnnt 1)(' It ,ll'
):, llnlto:1I1 underworld of arbitrary sentiment and hut JrL' ;1 11 "
Il\tL'rwoven with those ostensibly more grounded anJ lytical th;lt 1II.lkc'
lip the conventional wisdom of 'high ' science.
All of the contribut ions that foll ow therefore if !'ool1l l·timt'"
IlI1 ly indirectly :md after fulfilling thei r descriptive and anal ytic tasb, :l rl) UI HI
,I question th;)t in its most vul ga r and direct form could be posed iI:-. 'j,
pulitics getting bett er or \Vorse?' The will noti ce that Illo!:>t 01 0\1 1
lontribut ors explore an 'e nabling' or optimistic perspect ive on the ;lC!'>lhl'll
I i .. ation and ' populari sation' of polit ics, even though ail of them take Clrl' III
weigh t he democratic opportunities Jfforded by the new intensity of 11l('c!ia-
political relati ons ag:.linst its evident ri sks. It should be clear that the purptl!'>('
III this book is to open up an area of enquiry and debate, one that has of tell
got lost in the gaps between poli tica l and media studies, rat her t han to rore
d ose around any part icular reading or assessment. The sheer cOll1plrxity 01
the current phase of ' re-st yling' , across its various dimensions, is such ;}!) tll
Lonfollnd any attempt at the neat analysis or the elegance of the unqualified
judgement. We have identified shifts in representation across its two Illcan-
ings, bot h as mode of port rayal and as practice of delegation, and then in thl'
relati on between the two, as pivota l here.
Thflt many countri es are experie ncing a new dynami cs of cha nge in tlwi r
poli tica l life is hardl y in question, Nor is the shift in the directness of lIw
connect ions wi th culture and with commerce. Po Ii ti C.lI structurl' S,
performances and experience are all in and the bold Form of
our question resists an equall y bold answer simpl y because of the mi x or
trajectories and val ues. Different kinds of whJt Raymond Wi lli ams
' residua l, dominant and emergent' elelll ents are in process toget her. This i:-.
certainl y t rue For many establi shed democracies. El sewhere, of
history and more runciamcntal kinds of transition someti Jlles all ow fo r a
more decisive ;lIlswer, at least for the time being. But the 'troubled' 01
Jllany of the chapters, their sense of e ngaging with va lues in tension and
sometimes in contradiction, we take to be the direct product of their per-
ceptiveness of approach rat her than a failure of evaluative resolve. For
ever else it does, the prescnt re-styling of poli tics presents us (both :I!'>
citizens and os scholars) with quite speCifi c kinds of difficulty, Our hope i,
that this book provides some he lp in thinking t hat diffi cult y through,
110101 cnces
Ad" , 1111, I 1111<1 I J 1/'" (1I1t"H' I,,'/,,\/n' 1 ..... .11111 N O'11 \, 't kit. 11,.1. ,I I.
Aft'nd. II (J '171) ' I V ' /', • I,
, . • II Ih lll II <1 2 1111.1"111, < " "'10/,/','1<"1""'/', 1111t,., ... , I"" ",I,'

IMer C E (ZOOZ) M r '" k
B .' .' W ( 199Z) 'l'IIlI ,., 1I; etslmd Democracy. Cmnhndhl'; 111lI\l'r\l ty Prl'ss.
enJamm,. I IlmmatlO'I,f. I-I. Arendt (cd.) . London: Fontana.
Carlson: M. ( 1996) Per!orPII,/1Ice: A Criticalilltroduction. London & New York- R i d
E. ( 1995 ( 19 121) The Elememary Forms of Religious Life. New York: ThoUI\ e gpc.
Fairclough N (ZOOO) N u bo N . e ree ress.
, • t'1/J I Ilr: ew umgltage? London: Routledge,
E. (1959) The Presemat ion of Self ill El'eryday Life. New York' A h Books
f-!Jllach, A. (1979) 'The Aesthetics of Politics: Waher BenJ' :amin', "T' h
.or r C·
F . .., N C . eenes 0 erman
aSClsm, elll erma" Criti fille 17: 99- 11 9.
T ( 1979 [1 9471) Dialectic of Ell/iglllemlltlll t. London: Verso.
M:arshai l P. D I Crowd: It Study of tlr.1! PoplI/llr Mind, New York: Viking.
Lo I
' .' '. (19?7) (md POlller. Fame III Comf lll porary Cli ltll re. Minnc:a li s &
nc On. UnrvcnillY 01 MlIlnesotn Press. po
Mayhew, L. (1997) The New P b/ ' . p .f . I e '
I ,n C. . II IC. ro,eSSIOl/a OlllllllllllClftioll (//ul tire Mealls of Soc' I
"J ,"et,ICe, ambndge: Cambridge Uni\'crsity Press. ,a
J . ( 1985) No SellSe of Place. 71le Impact of Electroll;c Media 011 Social Bel l '
ew York and Oxford: Oxford UniverSity Press. I "'lOllr,
Pels, D. (2003.) Ulllrastellillg Scie"ce. AI/tol/omy (Hili Rcjlcxillity 11/ lI,e Social '11,
) Knowledge . Liverpool: Liverpool UniverSi ty Press. cory of
I cis, D., Hetherington, K. :a nd Vandenberghe F. (2002) ' The StatU5 of tI e Ob . Pc '
Medi:ations 'Ild u h ' ,,' I ( , 1 Ject. 'rtonnances
5 . is ' " I ec nlqlles III IC em eds) Sociality/ Materiality. The SUIfUS of the Object it;
ocla clell ce, spcri:d double iSSlll ' of Theory, Cullllre lllld Society 19(5-6)
Samuel", A. (200 I J I'olilics Oil tire ollch. London: Profile Books '
Schi.effelin, E. L. ( 199 ) ' Problel11:Hizing Performance', pp. 194- 207 in F. Hughcs. Freeb d ('d)
Performallce, Medlll . London: Routledge. n e.
SPCllch/al , S. (2002). 'lh.' PrinCiple or Publicity, Public USt..' of and Social Control' M I"
1/ ture iUul SOCi ety 24(1), 5-26. ' ellfl,
Thrift, N. (2000) 'Afterwords', Society a,ul Space 18: 2 13-55.
li".ner II ( 198Z) f W I TI
' . r Oil! ltua 10 l ellter. The Humall SerioltS1less of Play New Vi rk' P .
Arts Journal Publications, . 0, er ormlng
Wcbe,r, M. ( 19SS) 0 11 CIllJ. riSl//(/ WId Illstillll ioll Buildi ng; Selected Pllpers S N E' e ·t d ( I )
ChlCago: University of Chicago Prt'Ss. ' . . IS nl; a t l'l ..
Weber, M. (1994) I'olitical Wril illgS. p. L1S!l 1ll3n and R. S
Universi ty Press. peirs (cds). Cambridge; Cambridge
Wernick, A. ( 199 1) Promotiollal Cllilllre. London: Sage.
Democracy's Inner Voice
Political Style as Unintended Consequence
of Politi cal Action '
In any given case political style might be unimporlant or dangerous, bul obviously It can't
be both. Robert Haliman, Polilical Slyle (1995)
The innere Stimme in Music and Politics
In Robert Schumann 's HlIlll oreske (1 838) we encounte r one of the most
remarkable passages in the history of music. The hi st ori an of music Charl es
Rosen, in hi s brilli ant Tlt e Romalltic Gell eratioll (1 996) , wrot e the foll owing
about t his passage: ' there are three staves: the uppermost for t he right hand:
the lowest for the left, the middle, which contai ns the melody, is not t o be
played' . Hence, t he piani st plays wit h ri ght and left hands the accompa-
niment of a melody that is clearl y and unambiguously suggest ed by the score
and whi ch the listener will also hear, whil e at t he same t ime, t he score expli-
ci tly forbids t he pianist to play this melody. The melody is here, as Schu-
mann indicates himself in t he score, an inl1ere Stimme, an inner voice, which
t he list ener, without being aware of it, will furnish himself. Put different ly,
t he melody, also for Schumann the heart of t he composition, wi ll be listell ed
to by the list e ner, without actually bei ng heard by him. Hence, what one
listens to, according to Rosen, ' is the echo of an unperformed melody, t he
accompaniment of a song. The middle pan is marked innere Stimme, and it
is both int eri or and inward, a double sense calculated by the composer: a
voice between soprano and bass, it is also an inner voice that is never exteri·
orised. It has its being wit hin t he mind and its exist ence only through its
echo' (Rosen, 1996: 7) .
Cert ainly, precedents can be found in polyphony for thi s paradox of
inaudibl e music; indeed, for t he more subtle composers in polyphony this
was a musical trope as obvious as it was popul ar. We can think of the rea ll y