In the context of a crisis in institutionalised politics, media treatment of the 2007 French presidential election saw the débat participatif become a key feature of the campaign. This article explores the range of representations of le peupk souverain as provided in 33.25 hours of television programming on one private and three public-sector channels from January to March 2007. Beginning with symbolic representations through set design and the selection and presentation of the public, it goes on to investigate to what extent public participants mirror the diversity of French society in terms of geographic distribution, gender, ethnic diversity, professional activity, age, marital status and parenthood. The article concludes that pre-existing discrepancies in geographic distribution are exaggerated, whereas, for other socio-cultural variables, numerically smaller groups are over-represented. This includes politically salient groups such as farmers and ethnic minorities but not, interestingly, women, who continue to be in a minority as active participants.
French Cultural Studies – SAGE
Published: Feb 1, 2011
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