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[Sortie de livre] The Citizen Marketer: Promoting Political Opinion in the Social Media Age

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[Sortie de livre] The Citizen Marketer: Promoting Political Opinion in the Social Media Age

Authors: Joel Penney

Publishing house: Oxford University Press


From hashtag activism to the flood of political memes, grassroots circulation of opinion online is changing the landscape of political communication. By exploring how everyday people promote messages to persuade their peers and shape the public mind, Joel Penney offers a new framework for understanding the phenomenon of viral political
communication: the citizen marketer. The discussion is grounded in testimony of citizens who have changed their profile pictures to protest symbols, tweeted links to articles about select issues, or displayed anything from slogan T-shirts to viral videos that promote favored politicians. In contrast to the “slacktivism” critique often leveled at these media-centered forms of activism, Penney argues that they enable citizens to take on the role of viral political marketers as they participate in the networked spread of ideas. Furthermore, Penney examines the risks that these practices pose for increasing polarization and partisanship, the trivialization of issues, and manipulation by political

Like the citizen consumer, the citizen marketer is guided by the logics of marketing practice, but, rather than being passive, actively circulates persuasive media to advance political interests. Citizens view their participation in such activities not only in terms of how it may shape or influence outcomes, but as a statement of their own identity. As the book argues, these practices signal an important shift in how political participation is conceptualized and performed in advanced capitalist democratic societies, as they casually inject political ideas into the everyday spaces and places of popular culture.

While marketing is considered a dirty word in certain critical circles — particularly among segments of the left that have identified neoliberal market logics and consumer capitalist structures as a major focus of political struggle — some of these very critics have determined that the most effective way to push back against the forces of neoliberal capitalism is to co-opt its own marketing and advertising techniques to spread counter-hegemonic ideas to the public. Accordingly, this book argues that the citizen marketer approach to political action is much broader than any
one ideological constituency or bloc. Rather, it is a means of promoting a wide range of political ideas, including those that are broadly critical of elite uses of marketing in consumer capitalist societies. The book includes
an extensive historical treatment of citizen-level political promotion in modern democratic societies, connecting contemporary digital practices to both the 19th century tradition of mass political spectacle as well as more
informal, culturally-situated forms of political expression that emerge from postwar countercultures.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Citizen Marketer Approach to Political Action
Chapter 2: The Historical Lineage of the Citizen Marketer
Chapter 3: Self-Labeled and Visible Identities
Chapter 4: Political Fans and Cheerleaders
Chapter 5: News Spreaders and Agenda-Setters
Chapter 6: Towards a Critical Literacy of the Citizen Marketer Approach

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