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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Democracy for sale : the marketization of Canadian political discourse and its implications for democratic citizenship Proctor, James


An increasingly popular subject of focus within political science literature is the marketization of political discourse (Fairclough, 1995; Prince 2001; Simpson & Cheney, 2007). This article complements this body of literature by analysing how market-based discourse reinforces a passive frame of citizenship within Canadian politics. Market discourse utilizes concepts, values, and vocabularies commonly found in the marketplace – the language of branding, consumer satisfaction, efficiency and productivity – and applies it to the political realm. This paper argues that the marketization of political discourse frames politics as an area of social life predominantly concerned with the maximization of individual self-interest. In order to support this examination, political discourse analysis is combined with framing theory to analyse taxation discourse in party platforms from the 2011 Canadian federal election. Applying the frames to the party platforms reveals how market-based discourse reinforces a passive frame of citizens as self-interested, financially-motivated, and antisocial individuals. Marketization represents a worrisome trend in Canadian politics as it threatens to hollow out the public sphere by developing a consumption-oriented, self-interested civic culture.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada