Qualitative Political Communication| Understanding the Impact of the Transnational Promotional Class on Political Communication

Melissa Aronczyk


This article is an overture to political communication researchers to broaden their categories and contexts of analysis when assessing the role of promotional practices in political life. It aims to make both methodological and empirical contributions to qualitative political communication research. Drawing on ongoing research into the proliferation of political communication strategies around the exploitation of oil in Canada and the United States, the article analyzes efforts by promotional intermediaries to achieve legitimacy for their clients in three sites: Montreal, Canada; Houston, Texas; and Fort McMurray, Alberta. Bringing to light the tools, techniques, and claims to authority of promotional actors and their practices, the article demonstrates the importance of field research to the analysis of political communication. By getting inside the social worlds of the actors and processes involved, researchers can make sense of the ways that political communication is defined, understood, and acted upon by interlocutors and audiences. The article also addresses specific methodological challenges of undertaking this research.


promotional culture, legitimacy, strategic political communication, Keystone

Full Text: