This book offers a critical re-thinking of the way in which traditional market logic - derived from mainstream economics and managerial marketing - has for decades commonly been applied in the theoretical understanding of democratic politics within influential quarters of political science and in later years also the relatively new but rapidly expanding field of political marketing. Such approaches are founded on the assumption that all markets are driven exclusively by exchange dynamics and this has in turn rendered the most basic workings of co-production and participation-oriented party-centred political systems theoretically invisible. The author starts by providing a thorough and wide-ranging critical assessment of the theoretical underpinnings of the contemporary political marketing literature and its market-based political science antecedents. Using a relationship marketing perspective the author goes on to offer a re-conceptualisation of these political spheres in terms of 'markets' which addresses the theoretical inadequacies of prior research. She closes by examining some of the most important practical implications that this alternative approach to party-centred politics may have for the marketing efforts of contemporary membership parties. This book is essential reading to all those interested in party-centred politics and political marketing, as well as democratic theorists and students of political theory in general.
Helene P.M. Johansen is Associate Professor of Strategic Communications in the Faculty of Media and Journalism at Volda University College, Norway.
'Political marketing theory tends to offer universal models and truths. Helene Johansen challenges these, placing the party at the centre of discussion and arguing powerfully for a relational paradigm to reinvigorate democracy. This is an important work, one that should be absorbed by academics and practitioners to ensure political marketing serves and not subverts democracy.' Darren G. Lilleker, Bournemouth University, UK 'The author evokes particularly well the essence of political situations and their distinctiveness from the classic product - market situation that prevails in the marketing literature. Well written, lucid and insightful this book represents a subtle and sophisticated analysis and goes beyond the debates within the community of political marketing scholars to address some of the key issues faced by the life of democracy today.' Nicholas O'Shaughnessy, Queen Mary, University of London, UK 'This book is a timely addition to the political marketing literature. ... The book is essential reading for any political marketing student and provides an extensive critical review of the marketing literature and shows how it has been and should be applied to politics. Therefore it should also be recommended reading for students of politics and elections.' Democratization