For a Sociology of Electoral Repertoires

Special Report: Campaigning
By Clément Desrumaux, Rémi Lefebvre

This paper proposes the concept of electoral repertoires in order to analyze practices, techniques and knowledge used during election campaigns. The literature on campaigning is mostly dominated by the question of effects. Changes are primarily related to technological developments. The concept of electoral repertoires allows an empirical analysis of the choices made by the agents in a context where “the choice of weapons” is structured historically and sociologically. The choices made by the agents are always made in particular political contexts defined by legal frameworks, and are also based on party affiliation and internal balance of power inside parties. The electoral repertoires also explain electoral mobilizations by taking into account the trajectories of the agents mobilized and their interactions with their audiences. Finally, the historical and geographical evolutions of repertoires are linked to beliefs that surround modes of action as well as their circulation.

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