Is (S)He Presidential? The Changing Scripts of Political Leadership, 1995-2020
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Park, Bo Yun
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CitationPark, Bo Yun. 2021. Is (S)He Presidential? The Changing Scripts of Political Leadership, 1995-2020. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation investigates how political strategists craft narratives of political leadership for presidential candidates in the digital age. Based on 110 in-depth interviews with high-profile political operatives in France and the United States, complemented by observational case studies of their professional meetings, I find that American and French political strategists craft scripts of presidential leadership by 1) drawing on models of leadership that tap into conventional collective imaginaries around presidential leadership, 2) adapting to the new structural and cultural changes associated with the spread of social media and big data analytics, and 3) reconfiguring their scripts of presidential leadership so that they may better resonate in today’s digital age. While political strategists in France had followed a hierarchical model of leadership and their American counterparts channeled a more egalitarian type of authority, the spread of social media and data analytics has been pushing strategists in both countries to reorient their scripts and strategies toward a new model of leadership: the entrepreneurial president. In doing so, the political strategists’ use of new technologies and modes of political communication serves as a catalyst for changing the scripts of presidential leadership they use. This research contributes to a better understanding of the changes in political repertoires and practices used in presidential campaigns. It also unveils the collective imaginaries that presidential candidates ought to speak to in a period of accentuated political polarization, resurging populism, and vastly changing demographics.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370206
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