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"Trust me, I know what I'm doing!": Competence Fields as a Means of Establishing Political Leadership

[journal article]

Neumann, Martin; Srbljinović, Armano; Markus Schatten

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-384071

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Abstract Competence fields are conceptualised as an alternative to the median-voter approach to the relationship between political leaders and constituencies. The notion of competence fields assumes that prospective political leaders need be regarded as competent in order to convince constituencies of their leadership abilities. It is argued that competence is a constructivist concept – political actors invoke claims of competence, backed by more or less strong, contextually dependent reasons in speech acts, by means of which they attempt to convince the audience of their leadership abilities. It is also argued that the construction of competence becomes particularly problematic in times of crisis, when pressures from the social context onto the prospective leaders make their claims of competence generally less convincing. Leaders are then expected to resort to all sorts of rhetorical devices and draw public attention to those competence fields in which minimal costs are to be incurred in order to establish themselves as competent in front of the constituencies. An example of an agent-based model of ethnicity as one such competence field is provided. It is argued that competence fields can be further investigated by a combination of traditional social-scientific methods and various methods and techniques from the fields of information retrieval and computer modeling, which can be particularly helpful in providing empirical evidence of competence fields.
Keywords social construction; political leadership; political actor; ethnicity; rhetoric; technical language; politics; electoral district; public communications; competence; evaluation
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords public perception
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 18-33
Journal European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities, 3 (2014) 2
Issue topic Political Analysis
ISSN 2285-4916
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works