1st Edition

The International Politics of Logos Colours, Symbols, Cues, and Identities

    178 Pages 43 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 43 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 43 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The International Politics of Logos provides the first systematic analysis of logos and the role they play in international politics.

    Whilst there is growing scholarly interest in visual politics, logos have largely remained hidden in plain sight despite being the most important symbol of a variety of organizations. Visual artefacts, such as logos, play an increasingly central role in politics. Candidates running for office carefully choose the images they share on social media, political parties devise effective brands, and NGOs use visual artefacts for advocacy and advertisement. Visual artefacts are also vital for violent non-state actors, ranging from private military and security companies (PMSCs) to terrorists. This book provides a wealth of data on the logos chosen by a variety of organizations, examining how they vary between actors, across types of organizations, and over time. It offers methodological innovations to the study of logos and visual politics, highlighting the potential of combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies to study the colours, symbols, and types of logos and other visual artefacts. The book examines the role of colours as cues and the causal connection between chromatic choices and ideology, the influence of socialization and norm diffusion dynamics in the choice to showcase (or scrap) specific symbols, and the relationship between branding decisions and the structure and strategies of specific organizations.

    This book will appeal to students and scholars of visual politics and visual communication, as well as those researching political parties, PMSCs, and terrorist groups. It will also be of interest to political, security, and marketing professionals.

    1. Introduction

    Logos between the battlefield and the marketplace: some definitions and a short history

    The politics of logos: our main argument

    Book structure

    2. Flags, Symbols, and Colours: Visual Political Studies Reviewed

    Visual political science: a brief review

    International Relations’ visual turn

    Logos in semiotics and marketing studies


    3. Uncharted Territory: Theories and Methods for Visual Political Analysis

    Colours and symbols

    Political parties

    Private military and security companies

    Terrorist groups

    Studying logos: our methodology

    4. Colours, Symbols, Ideologies: The Logos of Political Parties

    Colours and symbols in political party logos

    Operationalizing visual Europeanization

    Political parties: data and method

    Political parties: results

    Political parties: conclusions

    Political parties: appendix

    5. Building Legitimacy: Private Military and Security Companies’ Logos

    Logos as discourse: marketing security as a commodity

    Logos and the private security market

    PMSCs’ logo semiotics: a Peircean approach

    A visual history of PMSCs’ logos: the inception of the market

    Market expansion and the invasion of Iraq

    Market consolidation after the Blackwater affair

    Russian PMSCs: a new combat-oriented market

    What’s in a logo? An analysis

    Private military and security companies: conclusions

    6. Violent Signs: Terrorist Groups’ Logos

    Interpretive and explanatory approaches in terrorism studies

    Logos as behavioural cues: theoretical expectations

    Terrorist groups: data and method

    Terrorist groups: results and discussion

    Terrorist rebranding: Aum Shinrikyo

    Terrorist groups: conclusions

    Terrorist groups: appendix

    7. Conclusions


    Political logos: a new research agenda


    Matteo C.M. Casiraghi is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Previously, he was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK, and the University of Denver, USA. He has published articles in the Journal of Peace Research, the European Journal of Political Research, and West European Politics, amongst others.

    Eugenio Cusumano is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Messina, Italy, and Assistant Professor (on leave) at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. He was previously a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the University of Venice, Italy, and the University of Queensland, Australia, and a Fulbright Scholar at the Korbel School of International Studies, Denver, USA. He has published over 30 journal articles and two monographs on non-state actors' role in international security and has collaborated with the International Organization of Migration, the NATO Centre of Excellence on Civil-Military Cooperation, and the EU Centre of Excellence on Hybrid Threats.