Media image of politician as a factor for electoral groups consolidation
It is revealed the role of the politician`s media image as a leading factor in the process of electorate consolidation.
The main objectives of the research were to introduce and present the concept of consolidation by outlining the level of the problem’s elaboration in modern Western studies, defining its structure, identifying factors that take part in shaping its formation, and revealing the role of the media image of politicians through an analytical study of its components, namely visual, psychological, and communicative.
The study is based on the approaches of modern scientific fields: evolutionary, psychological, sociological, anthropological, and political ones. It is presented the author's conceptual model of the structure of consolidation, which consists of three components: 1) cognitive one: political value-orientation unity (where political values are personally meaningful to group members); a common purpose; a common understanding of ways to achieve consolidation; 2) categorical one: political identity, sense of unity with the group, attachment to it; a sense of “us”; 3) action-communicative one: readiness for dialogue and finding consensual solutions on the optimal ways of solving the tasks facing the group; to take joint action to achieve specific goals.
The levels and types of consolidation are singled out, which makes it possible to study it both as a local (group) and as a social (including national) phenomenon.
It is found that consolidation as a characteristic of a group gives it a better chance to defend successfully its own interests and transform the surrounding reality.
Consolidation is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, the formation and strengthening of which requires appropriate social conditions and specific factors.
There are described seven basic factors: an economic one, social trust, sense of public duty, self-efficacy, past experience in participating in collective actions of the political domain, information space, and the image of a typical representative of the opposition group.
One of the leading factors in the consolidation’s formation of political (in particular electoral) groups is the image of a politician.
Parasocial relationships provided the basis for building consolidation around the media image. The article briefly describes their basic features.
A number of studies are analyzed to define components of the media image of the politician: visual, psychological, and communicative ones.
The question of political image and its constituents is raised.
There are identified eight elements of an effective media image of a politician that is capable to consolidate the electorate. Namely: external attractiveness and sociability; "commonality" (such as other citizens); the symbolic or archetypal basis of the image; matching the position of “public servant”; active use of media (both traditional and new) to form parasocial interaction with the electorate; to "hear" the actual requests of the society and its citizens, relying on them in the rhetoric; appeal to value basis, creation of the idea of political reality shared with the people; forming open, trusting, dialogical communication with both the electorate and the opposition forces; actualization of the sense of “us” and motivation to realize the importance of collective actions aimed at solving a particular problem or achieving objectives. The study is limited by the description of group consolidation, as in the political sphere there are also levels of social and national consolidation, the content of which may contain new components and not contain existing ones in the presented structure.
Therefore, the type of consolidation presented in the article is not universal for all its varieties, and the harmonization of this issue requires a separate work, planned for further research. The results of the study bring us closer to a better understanding of the mechanisms of political groups’ unification, which are now becoming more and more effective subject units in the political arena. Note that, however, it does not provide a comprehensive answer to the technology of consolidation of electoral groups, because the authors did not aim to study the role of other factors and their parallel effectiveness along with the factor of "media image of politics".
The undeveloped idea of consolidation creates in societies the phenomenon of local types of unity, with which it is important to be able to work and understand the psychological foundations underlying their formation.
It is believed that the value of work is even broader than the value of effective interaction only with electoral groups.
The results can be used to consolidate various political groups (including electoral ones) – both to organize a separate association of citizens around a politician and to reduce tensions in society and reconcile its individual radical groups.
The author's model of consolidation is presented as a holistic, complex socio-psychological structure, which allows to furtherly expand the range of mechanisms of influence the electorate and thus direct the processes of organizing an electoral group around a political leader.
The study of the media image of politics is presented as a completed, detailed task, relevant in the context of political transformations in 2019-2020, in particular, taking into account the new requirements of modern technologies for communication in politics.