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Interpreting discourse: a critical discourse analysis of the marketing of an extreme right party

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Viewing marketing as an ideological discourse that places consumption in a central position in people's lives provides further insights into the construction of political marketing discourse. Politicians and political parties now follow the 'logic of the market' in their attempts to connect with voters. Critical discourse analysis can be used in general to study the nature of political marketing discourse and specifically to document the web of identities and power relations that this discourse reproduces. To illustrate this application of theory we examine the marketing of the Vlaams Blok, a successful Flemish extreme-right party. The Vlaams Blok provides a good example of how the adoption of a marketing approach is used in politics, especially in the way a political party communicates to a wide audience using market logic. The analysis echoes approaches used by advertising and marketing communications scholars and highlights the strategic use of lexical, rhetorical and other linguistic devices to brand, sell and differentiate the Vlaams Blok from other political products. The analysis demonstrates that the Vlaams Blok creates a ready-to-consume product that achieves success at the electoral 'checkout'. We set the stage for marketing scholars to help both further understand how marketing methods are deployed with increasing sophistication outside the traditional domain of marketing, and to consider the consequences of a marketing discourse in the civic sphere.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Nottingham University Business School, UK 2: University of Leicester, UK

Publication date: 01 June 2007

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