The partisan institution tested by management

Managerial rhetoric and practices in the recruitment of "new members" to the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP)
By Anne-Sophie Petitfils


This article examines the diffusion of a modernizing rhetoric and managerial practices (introduction of "contracts of objective", ranking of federations according to their results, promotion of "responsabilization", use of web marketing and so on) regarding the recruitment of "new members" by the UMP leadership. Rather than taking for granted the existence of a universal process of partisan managerialization, this paper analyzes the social conditions of the introduction of these techniques. It reveals that their use has been an essential resource for elites struggling for the succession at the head of the party and eager to display their managerial competence and their ability to innovate and modernize the party. The recurrent commitment to UMP modernization should be understood as a double strategy of recognition and disqualification of the "old" partisan practices and by extension the "old" leaders of the party, which notably leads to local tensions.
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