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Local and Urban Politics

E04(b) - Workshop: Stealth Marketing in Politics and Public Policy I (Joint Workshop)

Date: Jun 4 | Time: 12:00pm to 01:30pm | Location: SWING 105

Joint Session / Séance conjointe : Local and Urban Politics, Political Economy, Law and Public Policy

Chair/Président/Présidente : Meghan Joy (Concordia University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Alana Cattapan (University of Saskatchewan)

The Secret Ways That Canadian Parliamentarians Use Digital Media to Amplify Party Messaging: Alex Marland (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Abstract: This paper reveals the strategic thinking behind hidden digital media tactics employed by Canadian political strategists. New findings are presented about strategic communication planning; messages of the day and talking points; amplification networks; social media shareables; and supports provided by parliamentary research bureaus. Data are drawn from more than 80 in-depth interviews conducted in 2018 with Canadian party leaders, parliamentarians, political staff, candidates and others across the country. It is argued that these strategic activities are deployed to promote and spin a partisan message while simultaneously playing a role in caucus and candidate management. The need for authenticity becomes more apparent in a tightly-scripted, brand-centric political marketing environment. These preliminary findings inform a new book manuscript exploring the convergence of party discipline and message coordination in Canadian politics.


“Stealth Marketing” Paradigms Conducive to Corporate Influence on Health Policy Development: Tracey Wagner-Rizvi (Balsillie School of International Affairs / University of Waterloo)
Abstract: It has been observed that corporations and their business associations draw on a common “playbook” of strategies and tactics to influence policy at all levels of governance to their advantage. While private sector tactics to shape substantive policies have been studied, less examined are those used to shape the paradigms that determine which policies are pursued and what role private actors are able to play in developing them. These paradigms have implications for governance and policy-making in the public interest. This paper takes the examples of the baby food and soda industries and describes their tactics to “stealth market” not only their products but also paradigms of individual responsibility and choice, corporate social responsibility, and multi-stakeholder collaboration. They do this by influencing the framing of debates, influencing the evidence, co-opting through funding and partnerships, and boosting their images as responsible corporate citizens. These paradigms create an environment conducive to companies and their associations arguing against regulation and in favour of voluntary measures, and representing themselves as legitimate partners in developing health-related policy. The result can be policy-making processes and mechanisms that are vulnerable to conflicts of interest, and policies that fail to protect health in the public interest.


Humour et opinion publique : les discours humoristiques comme sources d’informations en matière de diversités ethnique, religieuse et culturelle au Québec: Emmanuel Choquette (Université de Montréal)
Abstract: L’humour, comme toute forme de discours, contribue à alimenter les points de vue sur différents enjeux. Ainsi, les discours humoristiques peuvent concilier des intérêts divergents (Begag 2001; Ziv 2010; Jérome 2010; Charaudeau 2013). Pour certains, sur des enjeux précis comme l’immigration, l’humour vient alimenter les stéréotypes (Boskin 1990; Weaver 2011; Jacobs-Huey 2006; Béru 2011). Pour d’autres, comme Meyer (2000), l’humour possède 4 fonctions auprès de l’opinion publique : I’identification, la clarification, l’établissement de normes et la différenciation. Chose certaine, l’humour transmet des informations permettant à la population de se faire une idée sur différentes questions politiques (Collovald et Neveu 1996; Baum 2005; Lichter, Baumgartner et Morris 2015). Ma recherche combine ainsi la communication politique et les humor studies afin de saisir le rôle de l’humour dans la construction de l’opinion publique sur les questions entourant les politiques d’immigration au Québec. Quelles sont les clés d’information proposées dans les discours humoristiques québécois pour comprendre les enjeux autour de l’intégration ethnique, religieuse et culturelle? De la « crise » des accommodements raisonnables en 2007 jusqu’à la campagne électorale de 2018, l’étude présente les résultats d’une analyse de contenu d’une centaine d’extraits de numéros humoristiques québécois traitant de ces questions. On remarque que certaines communautés s’avèrent plus ciblées que d’autres, les arabo-musulmans en particulier. La recherche révèle aussi les préoccupations des minorités ethniques, religieuses et culturelles au sujet de l’intégration des immigrants au Québec. Ces discours seront ultimement soumis à des expériences afin d'en évaluer les effets sur l'opinion publique.