Does discussion create votes?

The conditions, uses, and effects of political discussions during the 2017 French elections
By Éric Agrikoliansky, Lorenzo Barrault-Stella, Clémentine Berjaud, Diane Delacourt, Kevin Geay, Christèle Lagier, Patrick Lehingue, Emmanuel Monneau

This article considers the impact of political conversations on electoral choices, a highly important topic today, in the contextual approach to voting. This paper is based on a questionnaire-based survey and in-depth interviews conducted during the 2017 French elections (presidential and legislative). It shows that the hypothesis that conversation plays a deciding role during election periods is unrealistic, especially when focusing solely on conversations’ “political” content. While conversations have effects, they can be understood only by studying the social anchors that determine the possibility of having political conversations, as well as the meaning voters give to such talks. Ultimately, this article demonstrates that what circulates in pre-election conversations is less political information helping voters to make decisions, than norms and partisan identifications that give the act of voting a decisive collective dimension.

  • vote
  • contextual analysis of political behaviors
  • political conversations and electoral campaigns
  • social anchoring of electoral choices
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