Facebook Photographic Images: Political Tools of Self-Presentation during the 2014 European Parliament Elections in Romania

Facebook Photographic Images: Political Tools of Self-Presentation during the 2014 European Parliament Elections in Romania

Camelia Cmeciu (University of Bucharest, Romania)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9879-6.ch012
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Abstract

“Act, react, impact” was the slogan of the 2014 European Parliament elections. A social media campaign focused on a solid informing practice may constitute the first step in attaining European citizens' actions and reactions. This chapter explores the visual Facebook presence of winning and losing Romanian candidates who stood for the 2014 EP elections. The visual framing analysis shows that the Romanian winning politicians preferred to visually promote themselves as statesmanlike candidates being surrounded by national influentials or by campaign entourage whereas the losing candidate framed themselves either as populist campaigners in the middle of larger audiences or as compassionate candidates interacting with individuals. The analysis of the visual categories highlights that both winning and losing EP candidates in Romania used a hybrid message. Despite the attempt to provide a visual presentation of European campaign paraphernalia, national identity features rendered through religious symbols and traditional elements prevailed.
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Background

Used as a means of expression and communication, visual images are “as power-laden as words are” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 252) and “the pictorial representation of reality is as subjective as verbal statements are” (Messaris, 2012, p. 102). According to Kathleen German (2010), the pictorial turn has a new dimension with the new media. The online self-presentations have exploded with the increasing use of new and social media and the new visual technologies have gradually been used in “constituting us, our interaction, our identities and our relationships” (Graham et al., 2011, p. 90). Facebook, “the platform to see and to be seen” (Caers et al., 2013, p. 984) has significantly contributed to “the increased publicness of personal images” (Van House, 2011, p. 128).

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