By Barry Richards

This lucid and unique paintings argues for a brand new variety of political management, one that can pay planned and complex recognition to the emotional dynamics of the general public. In exploring this simple proposal of 'emotional governance', Barry Richards additionally examines the usually unhelpful contributions of the scoop media to the 'emotional public sphere'. A case learn of terrorism, as a hugely emotional subject and as a key political factor in lots of liberal democracies, grounds the book's principles in trendy political panorama.

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Extra info for Emotional Governance: New Ideas on Media and Democratic Leadership

Example text

In particular, since 9/11 and the terrorist attacks on Madrid and London, many Western countries have faced increasingly acute threats to social cohesion, centring around the apparent rejection of liberal democracy by some Islamist groups and the concomitant fear that Muslims face alienation and hostility1 from the rest of their national home publics. Managing such tensions and averting serious conflict has become a key task of government, a major part of which is concerned with the emotions triggered or generated by the insecurities and – at least for some – the disappointments of modern life.

Thus at one time or another all parties involved have been held responsible for this problem. Some analysts blame politicians and other traditional authorities for being, allegedly, more corrupt, or self-serving, than they used to be, or for being either out of touch with the public, or cynically pandering to public prejudice. In all these scenarios they are blamed for destroying the credibility of the democratic process. Others blame the media for presenting political debate as an inconsequential knockabout, or obscuring it with scandal, or ‘dumbing down’.

Those readers whose natural preference is more for criticising authority than empathising with it can hopefully still find the ideas here of value, even when they may lead to specific policy positions which they oppose. The psychosocial matrix In any case we should not suggest that the public is entirely malleable, putty in the hands of skilled communicators, nor that ‘public opinion’ is just an echo chamber for the voices recorded by the pollsters. While we are as a public what we imagine ourselves to be, our imaginations are not fully controlled by the definitions on offer in the public communications which surround us.

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