Expectations about Expectations of the Public. Political Elections and the Segmentation of the Political Public
|Binary Code; CLIENTELISM; COMPETITION; Elections; INCENTIVES; Particularism; Political Clientelism; Political Public; Power; Sociology; Systems Theory; Theory of Society; VOTE
|WALTER DE GRUYTER GMBH
|ZEITSCHRIFT FUR SOZIOLOGIE
This article analyzes the role that expectations about particularistic expectations of the political public play in the relationship between political actors and voters. It questions the systems-theoretical assumption that political elections and public communication about politics create an unknown public and that parties therefore can attract voters only with the help of relatively universalistic programs. Beyond the universalism induced by the mass media parties and politicians utilize opportunities to distinguish segments of the political public in attempts to attract votes by appealing to particularistic expectations. This is possible without recourse to the politically relevant general public when administrative decision-making and individual voting behavior are linked by clientelism and/or by local embeddedness in electoral districts. These findings cast some doubt on the centrality of the binary code ``government/opposition'' as a criterion for the differentiation of the political system. The article proposes a perspective that assumes variable weight for this distinction in relation to the more general difference between superior and inferior power in political communication and that tries to identify empirical variants of political differentiation on this basis.
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checked on Mar 1, 2024