Political marketing: A rational choice?

Heather Savigny

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    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Political marketing is a relatively new approach to analysing political activity that draws upon management marketing assumptions to describe political behaviour. These assumptions are explicitly grounded in neoclassical economic assertions about behaviour. In political science these assumptions are utilised by orthodox rational choice theory. Thus, political marketing can be located within this perspective. Rational choice provides a series of analytic models through which ontological implications can be derived, and predictions made. Yet, the political marketing approach seeks to build upon orthodox rational choice accounts, by introducing a normative element to this perspective, prescribing the internalisation of these assumptions in order to achieve the desired objective. Further, this normative aspect claims that the adoption of marketing improves the democratic process. However, rational choice is an analytical ‘toolkit’ which does not seek to make normative claims. Indeed, normative arguments are inconsistent with rational choice, which seeks to provide a scientific, value-free approach to political analysis, and, consequently, the analytical and normative aspects of political marketing need to be rendered explicit and such normative aspects challenged.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-38
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Political Marketing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

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