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Media in France Week 17

The media, image projection and celebrity politics


Core reading: Raymond Kuhn, The Media in Contemporary France, chapter 6, and Erik Neveu, 'Politicians without politics, a polity without citizens: the politics of the chat show in contemporary France', Modern and Contemporary France, 13/3, 323-35 (available in electronic version of the journal through the library catalogue).


Take notes on the following questions from the Kuhn chapter:

  1. List the conditions behind the 'traditional' approach to image projection among French political leaders. (p. 122-8)
  2. What factors within the political world have led to the erosion of this traditional model and a greater focus on the marketing of the 'personal'? (pp. 122-8)
  3. What factors within the media world have likewise driven this process? (pp. 128-32)
  4. To what extent, in your view, do the examples presented by Kuhn at pp. 132-6 suggest that politicians sexual lives, health, and financial arrangements are of legitimate public concern?
  5. In what ways did Sarkozy and Royal 'mediatize' their private personae for political gain? Are there dangers inherent in such strategies? (pp. 136-40)


Take notes on the following questions from the Neveu article:

1. Why has politics been treated increasingly in 'chat-show' form since the 1980s?

2. How can this be understood as a positive development for the democratization of politics?

3. How can this be understood as trivialising issues of political citizenship?


Student presentation: Sarkozy in Paris-Match

Go to the 'anciens numéros' section of Paris-Match (use this link). Do a search for 'Sarkozy'. This will give you a series of numbers in which he (or Carla Bruni) appeared on the front cover. Make a selection of these (if you click on the 'magnifier' icon, it will give you the front cover image, which you can save without actually buying the whole copy). Use your selection to make a 7 minute powerpoint presentation on Sarkozy's self-projection in this magazine.



Some samples of 'mediatized intimacy':

Sarkozy video extract:

‘C’est du sérieux’ (Jan 2008, LCI)

Exchange between Marc-Oliver Fogiel and Carla Bruni (15/12/2009)

Ségolène Royal on J’ai une question à vous poser (19/2/2007) (much discussed moment starts at 5'29")

sarko paris match cartoon