A Configurational Approach to Campaign Styles

The Parliamentary Electoral Mobilizations in Great Britain (1997-2005)
By Clément Desrumaux

Scientific literature about electioneering generally focuses on its historical evolution. The synchronic plurality of electoral practices is largely ignored, thus the fact that a campaign encompasses in reality diverse forms of electoral mobilizations is not well perceived. The article introduces a configurational analysis to explain differences among electoral campaigns as well as their unequal integration within national politics. Based on the British case and on fieldwork focusing on Labour and Conservative candidates, the article aims at understanding how they structure electoral mobilizations. Campaign styles vary according to the characteristics of the candidates, but depend also on the nature of the competition and the degree of integration to the central political game. Finally, by taking into account the trajectories of candidates as well as their personal or professional experiences, the configurational approach is a useful tool to understand how campaigns are effectively set up.

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