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Up, close and personal: the new Front National visual strategy under Marine Le Pen

Abstract

Extensive analyses of Marine Le Pen’s media interventions as leader of the French Front National have revealed mostly rhetorical differences from her father’s discourse. In particular, despite Marine Le Pen’s professed openness toward women and their policy concerns, and despite her professed intention to transform the FN into party suitable for government, there has been little progress in these directions. However, the FN’s visual discourse has been all but ignored by the scholarly analysis, despite the fact that campaign visuals encode significant social and political information. This paper finds that the FN candidates’ visual presentation has undergone major transformations from the 2007 to the 2012 legislative elections. Specifically FN candidates in 2012 are more likely to visually portray themselves like mainstream party candidates. Compared to the 2007 elections, women candidates, in particular, were more likely to visually promote their personal qualities in 2012, in some respects more than 2012 men candidates.

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Figure 1

Note: The red selection indicates the area taken by the candidate’s entire image on the cover, the green selection indicates the area taken by their head, and the blue selection indicates the area taken by their face. The entire area of the PF cover is marked with a pink border

Figure 2

Note: All the variables are coded so that larger values indicate a stronger candidate visual focus (see text for additional variable description)

Figure 3

Note: All the variables are coded so that larger values indicate a stronger candidate visual focus (see text for additional variable description)

Figure 4

Note: All the variables are coded so that larger values indicate a stronger candidate visual focus (see text for additional variable description)

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Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank two anonymous referees for excellent feedback, Michael Lewis-Beck and Nonna Mayer for constructive discussions on this topic, as well as Odile Gaultier-Voituriez at CEVIPOF for assistance with the data collection.

Author information

Correspondence to Delia Dumitrescu.

Appendix

Appendix

Tables A1, A2 and A3.

Table A1 Candidate visual presentation differences from 2007 to 2012 (complement to Figure 2)
Table A2 Visual presentation differences between men and women candidates in 2007 (complement to Figure 3)
Table A3 Visual presentation differences between men and women candidates in 2012 (complement to Figure 4)

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Dumitrescu, D. Up, close and personal: the new Front National visual strategy under Marine Le Pen. Fr Polit 15, 1–26 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41253-016-0012-7

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Keywords

  • France
  • Front National
  • visual strategy
  • Le Pen
  • election