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Consumer Democracy

This book argues that marketing is inherent in competitive democracy, explaining how we can make the consumer nature of competitive democracy better and more democratic. Margaret Scammell argues that consumer democracy should not be assumed to be inherently antithetical to 'proper' political discourse and debate about the common good. Instead, Scammell argues that we should seek to understand it - to create marketing-literate criticism that can distinguish between democratically good and bad campaigns, and between shallow, cynical packaging and campaigns that at least aspire to be responsive, engender citizen participation, and enable accountability. Further, we can take important lessons from commercial marketing: enjoyment matters; what citizens think and feel matters; and, just as in commercial markets, structure is key - the type of political marketing will be affected by the conditions of competition.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface: the US presidential election of 2012; Introduction; 1. Political marketing: why it matters; 2. Political marketers: who are they and what do they think they are doing?; 3. Political brands: the latest stage of political marketing and the case of Tony Blair; 4. George W. Bush: the ultimate brand?; 5. Campaigning effects: how do they know what works?; 6. Citizen consumers, political marketing and democracy; Conclusion: hope not fear.

About the Author

Margaret Scammell is currently lecturer in media and communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Prior to her time at the LSE, she worked as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool and as a research fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She worked as a local, sports, and politics journalist for a number of news organizations before receiving her PhD at the LSE. Her book Designer Politics (1995) became a standard reference for use of marketing and public relations in the United Kingdom. She has published widely on many aspects of political communication, including political campaigning, Americanization of campaigning worldwide, government and news management, consumer activism, and the appropriate role of media in democracies. She is the co-author of On Message: Communicating (1999), The Media, Journalism and Democracy (2000) and the Sage Handbook of Political Communication (2012).


'Scammell's outstanding book introduces marketing theory, with a particular focus on branding theory, to political researchers who may otherwise be unfamiliar with its concepts and framework. Scammell skillfully lays out the logic behind these theories and applies them to political campaigns, offering valuable insight. She then presents a normative argument encouraging the acceptance of political marketing while acknowledging the misgivings of many observers.' Kyle Mattes, Political Communication

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