‘New politics’, new media – New political language? A rhetorical perspective on candidates’ self-presentation in electronic campaigns in the 2013 Israeli elections

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13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Political campaigns running during the Israeli general elections of 2013 saw a rapidly growing use of new media. According to reports, most of the electronic campaign activity focused on candidates’ or their respective party’s Facebook page. This article explores the rhetorical dimensions of electronic campaigns and particularly focuses on the formation of the public image of three candidate, all of whom were identified with the promise of a ‘new politics’: Yair Lapid, head of the newly formed ‘middle class party’ Yesh Atid; Shelly Yachimovich, head of the Israeli Labour Party; and Naftali Bennett, newly elected head of the religious Zionist party, Habayit Hayehudi. The rhetorical analysis uncovers three discursive strategies used by all three candidates: informality, meta-textuality and narrativity. These discursive strategies transform the campaign microblogs into personal ‘campaign diaries’ used by the candidates to account for ‘behind the scenes’ anecdotes, impressions and insights. The analysis shows that candidates used personal Facebook microblogs to strengthen their image as authentic and complex characters, rather than mediated personas engineered by campaign managers. This article argues that such political images were strategically designed in order to support the campaigns’ promise to break from the ‘old politics’ and warrant the candidates’ commitment to the ‘new politics’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
JournalIsrael affairs
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Candidate image
  • E-campaign
  • Election campaign
  • Elections
  • New media
  • New politics
  • Political communication
  • Political discourse
  • Rhetorical ethos
  • Social networks

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