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Bring back the party: personalisation, the media and coalition politics

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What effect, if any, does a change in type of government have on the degree of media personalisation? This article argues that the different incentives that single- and multi-party governments provide to individual politicians and parties affect the level of media personalisation. Where the parties are more involved (i.e. multi-party coalitions) there will be less media personalisation. In contrast, where a single individual can command the party, there will be more media personalisation. The article tests these assumptions with a novel dataset created from over 1 million newspaper articles covering a continuous 24-year period in the UK. It finds that the switch to a coalition government in 2010 indeed changed the dynamics of media personalisation. These findings not only provide key insights into the phenomenon of personalisation but also enable us to better understand some of the potential consequences of changes in government types for power dynamics and democratic accountability.
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Keywords: Personalisation; UK; coalition; media, parties

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK 2: Department of Political Science, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Publication date: March 4, 2018

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