The “citizen list” as a discretionary enterprise. Study of a “citizen list”election campaign in Strasbourg: Strasbourg écologiste et citoyenne

Special report. Partisan discretion
By Marie Acabo

The high number of so-called “citizen lists” have been one of the significant features of the French 2020 city elections. Even though the “citizen list” label has been originally coined in anti-party movements, this kind of political list is still a very blurred and undefined form of political organization. Hence, groups with various political backgrounds can claim the label, enabling some historical political parties to claim it as well. Combining a long-term ethnography of the electoral campaign, interviews of its main actors and data analysis, this article offers an analysis of the Strasbourg’s citizen list’s 2020 campaign. This paper focuses on how the label allows the list to present itself as a list of renewal, despite the centrality of the political parties in its functioning. The participative democracy set-ups are efficient tools for the list to give public proof of its “citizenship” while increasing the perimeter of its social anchorage. The last part of the article shows that the plasticity of the “citizen list” label is rather a repertoire of practices, amongst which political groups can choose elements to adjust themselves to the audience that they are targeting.

  • citizen list
  • political parties
  • municipal elections
  • political staff
  • political novices
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