How to win an election? Do the substance as well as the theatre of politics

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Abstract

Leadership challenges make terrific political theatre – the kind leaders themselves want to avoid. To do so they have to do the substance and theatre of politics well enough to keep their job and win elections.

Not doing the theatre of politics well enough means no one will ever know how well they do the substance, because no one will listen or watch to find out. The public sphere, as sociologist Ari Adut puts it, is “simply a space of appearances” that is sensory, largely visual, involves distance, and of which spectatorship is the essence – in short, it is spectacle.

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