ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Theatrical Aesthetics in Televised Political Productions

The notion of theatrical aesthetics in political communication and the televised flow of theatre politics are examined. The analysis of verbal and non-verbal communication codes looks beyond the performance that is limited to speech analysis and examines the semiotics of proximity systems, imitation, gestures, symbols, and scene settings. The theatrical techniques used by the two main Greek political parties (New Democracy and Panhellenic Socialist Party) from 2000 to 2009 in televised political campaign presentations are explored.

This paper is based on the author’s doctoral thesis from the Department of Communication and Mass Media, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

The author thanks the reviewer for their thorough reading and appreciate their comments and suggestions which improved the quality of the article.


It is hard to deny that today’s politics is governed to a certain extent by the principles of theatrical art, such as characters, plot, setting and symbolisms. As politics is communicated to the audience through the media, in this article any reference to theatricality means televised political productions. We are constantly acting, as Goffman (2007) repeatedly points out; we are actors whenever we interact with others since we always perform. In this sense, political life is theatrical as well. However, due to our prolonged exposure to theatrical representations of reality, we have the ability to decode complex meanings and symbols embedded in social activity (Hornbrook 1991).

The visualisation of the culture of political publicity reinforces the theatricality of communication in all aspects of social activity and interaction. Therefore, given the broad acceptance of television as the main instrument of political communication and information, we are led to the construction of a political reality through televised presentations. When talking about the theatricality of techniques in the presentation of politics, one should look into the characteristics of theatrical art and their origin. Political information and the presentation of politicians in the mass media are produced based on the theatrical directives and techniques, as their directing will now become part of reality that will aim at highlighting or eliminating aspects of the reality (Meyer and Hinchman 2008: 21).

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Updated On : 2nd Dec, 2019
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