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Election Campaigns and Collective Identities: The Cases of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Stojiljkovic, Ana (2017) Election Campaigns and Collective Identities: The Cases of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Election campaigns are usually discussed in terms of a strategy designed to win elections, but, as this thesis argues, they also communicate the meaning of the collective identities they appeal to and therefore contribute to the (re)construction of these identities. In constructionist tradition, the argument in this thesis is that they do so by providing a narrative for these identities. My research looks at the 2008 and 2012 campaigns in Serbia and 2006 and 2010 campaigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina and examines the process of the (re)construction of targeted identities. The methodology used for this research is threefold. It includes the textual analysis of selected campaign materials (manifestos, slogans, TV debates, speeches at campaign rallies), interviews with campaign managers, consultants, candidates and pollsters, and focus groups and interviews with voters. The findings reveal that appeals to national and ethnic identities are the most common identity appeals in election campaigns in the two countries. They also suggest that Serbian campaigns typically direct their appeals at the majority of citizens and call for unity, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina they target ethnic communities composing the country, thereby reinforcing the links of in-group trust while discouraging bridging links between different groups. In the end, this study reveals that election campaigns shape the narratives of national and ethnic identities. They do so by 1. framing the present political and social context, retelling the past, and suggesting a vision for the future; 2. reimagining the borders of the political community, and 3. promoting cultural values of these political communities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Election Campaigns, Identities, National Narrative, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ms Ana Stojiljkovic
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2017 12:01
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 12:01
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17292

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