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Public affairs consultants – chance or threat for modern democracy?


Steiner, A (2008). Public affairs consultants – chance or threat for modern democracy? In: Media and Global Divides: IAMCR World Congress 2008 (International Association for Media and Communication Research), Stockholm, 20 July 2008 - 25 July 2008.

Abstract

Changes in Western Democracies, e.g. the ongoing dealignment of citizens, the individualization of interest representation and the rise of the mass media as a key factor in the political process, rise new challenges for political communication. Consultants in public affairs are said to meet these challenges in both an effective and efficient way. They are external, commercial agents who assist their clients in the management of relationships with politically relevant stakeholders. Nevertheless, the rise of public affairs consultants also poses the question of their accordance with the principles of modern democracy. What are the consequences resulting from public affairs to democracy? What relevance does the public and direct democratic institutions (i.e. intiative and referendum campaigns) have in the framework of public affairs services? Does public affairs consulting promote or impede the equality of interest representation with respect to clients? I answer these questions on the basis of empirical data on public affairs consultancies in Switzerland. A representative survey was conducted in order to generate information on the structures of the field of public affairs consulting. I try to give answer to this general question by confronting empirical data on political consultancies in Switzerland with two basic democratic requirements.

Changes in Western Democracies, e.g. the ongoing dealignment of citizens, the individualization of interest representation and the rise of the mass media as a key factor in the political process, rise new challenges for political communication. Consultants in public affairs are said to meet these challenges in both an effective and efficient way. They are external, commercial agents who assist their clients in the management of relationships with politically relevant stakeholders. Nevertheless, the rise of public affairs consultants also poses the question of their accordance with the principles of modern democracy. What are the consequences resulting from public affairs to democracy? What relevance does the public and direct democratic institutions (i.e. intiative and referendum campaigns) have in the framework of public affairs services? Does public affairs consulting promote or impede the equality of interest representation with respect to clients? I answer these questions on the basis of empirical data on public affairs consultancies in Switzerland. A representative survey was conducted in order to generate information on the structures of the field of public affairs consulting. I try to give answer to this general question by confronting empirical data on political consultancies in Switzerland with two basic democratic requirements.

Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Event End Date:25 July 2008
Deposited On:29 Aug 2008 14:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:26
Official URL:http://www.iamcr.org/content/blogcategory/0/308/
Related URLs:http://www.mediaandglobaldivides.se/images/stories/file/abstracts/iamcr_2008_abstracts.pdf

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