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Palgrave Macmillan

Politicians, Personal Image and the Construction of Political Identity

A Comparative Study of the UK and Italy

ISBN 9781137353412
Publication Date January 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Is the media obsession with image leading to a degeneration of politics? Are politicians more concerned with their appearances than with policy substance? Through the evidence provided by over 50 interviews with politicians across the UK and Italy  - local councillors, MPs and MEPs  - this book provides a very different picture of the world of politics than the one we often cynically imagine. By relying on extensive excerpts from frank and colorful conversations with the interviewees, the analysis develops a new multidisciplinary model to understand the 'mediatization' of politics and the way the personal image of elected representatives is constructed in the age of interconnectedness.

Cristina Archetti is Associate Professor in Politics and Media at the University of Salford, UK. She won the 2008 Denis McQuail Award for Innovating Communication Theory. Her recent publications include Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media: A Communication Approach (2012) and Explaining News: National Politics and Journalistic Cultures in Global Context (2010).

1. Image in Political Communication: Obscure Areas and Troubling Assumptions
2. Methodology
3. A New Framework for Analysis
4. Findings
5. A Different Understanding of the Mediatization of Politics
6. Conclusions


"This is an important and thought-provoking account of the role personal image and self-presentation play in contemporary politics. Using interviews with politicians in Italy and the UK the author challenges many of the misperceptions about image politics that dominate the political communication literature and develops an innovative relational framework to explain the complex and nuanced nature of this new political reality. This erudite and insightful text should be required reading for all those interested in the latest developments in mediated political communication." - James Stanyer, University of Loughborough, UK
"Cristina Archetti's work squarely counters the widespread notion that appearance is replacing substance in politics. She shows this through a series of in-depth interviews of politicians in the United Kingdom and Italy, allowing their voices to refute the idea that they adhere to style over substance. Through these evocative stories that are linked to a discussion of theories that inform the role of personalization in politics, Archetti has created a unique and compelling aspect to our understanding of the phenomenon." - Sarah Oates, Professor and Senior Scholar in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA
"Archetti pursues a dominant theme in contemporary political communications research - the portrayal of politicians within intensive media settings. However, by interviewing British and Italian politicians about their own approach to self-presentation and their actual experiences of being 'mediated' she develops an original and provocative perspective on what is happening. Her analysis leads her to question many of the ideas advanced in recent academic commentary." - John Corner, Visiting Professor in Communication Studies, University of Leeds, UK
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