Marketing an extremist ideology

The Vlaams Belang’s nationalist discourse

Authored by: Mona Moufahim , Michael Humphreys

The Routledge Companion to Ethics, Politics and Organizations

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415821261
eBook ISBN: 9780203566848
Adobe ISBN: 9781136746246

10.4324/9780203566848.ch6

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Abstract

Consumption is now established, through the influence of marketing thinking, as a “dominant force in society” (Brownlie et al., 1999; Dermody and Scullion, 2001: 1087). This force extends beyond the commercial realm into other spheres of human society and the “discourses of marketisation and commodification are increasingly intruding into new realms of life such as relationships, politics and family” (Hackley, 2003: 1328). Business models and commercial discourses have become more pervasive in political and social contexts (Sabato, 1981; O’Shaughnessy, 1990; Scammell, 1995; Brownlie, 1997; Chilton and Schaffner, 1997; Hertz, 2001; Norris, 2004). The application of marketing techniques in political practice seems widespread and substantial sums of money are spent each year in political advertising, much of which goes to organizations and through channels very familiar to mainstream marketing scholars and practitioners (see e.g. Newman, 1994; Scammell, 1996). As marketing has increasingly been adopted by political parties (O’Shaughnessy, 1990), it has moved beyond influencing only tactical matters of communication and presentation, towards playing a significant role in policy formulation and long-term direction (Butler and Collins, 1996). We are particularly interested in the impact of marketing on politics, and how political parties deploy a marketing toolkit to achieve success at the polls. As a focus for our argument we have chosen to study the extreme right. The apparent success of traditionally marginal, extreme right parties across Europe has raised concerns because of their radical stance, blatant xenophobia, their growing popular acceptance and their participation in legitimate governing institutions.

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