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Political communication in the 1991 general election in India with special reference to Andhra Pradesh.

Karan, Kavita (1997) Political communication in the 1991 general election in India with special reference to Andhra Pradesh. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This research on Political Communications in the general elections and its effectiveness is one of the first of its kind on India, the literature having concentrated on voting behaviour in relation to socio-economic characteristics. The importance of communication during elections has been inadequately researched because of the diversity of the country. Through a content analysis of the coverage of election information in the media and case studies of party campaigns, the study evaluates the campaign practices in the mass media and conventional interpersonal forms. It highlights the electronic and outdoor forms like posters, wall writings, symbol displays and cutouts that were important during the 1991 elections. The thesis then examines the impact of these campaigns through a panel survey on a sample of 1155 electors from the three constituencies of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nagarkurnool in Andhra Pradesh. The voting patterns have been evaluated in relation to access to and the impact of different forms of political' communications. Research revealed that Indian political communication campaigns were well organised and professional advertising agencies were hired to promote the parties. Campaigns have been systematically planned through the development of creative and media strategies. Apart from the mass media channels, interpersonal forms continued to be important to reach the diverse electorate. There was a high level of exposure to newspapers, radio and television which were sought as important sources for election related information. Interpersonal forms were found to be persuasive. Education, urbanization, gender, caste and religion are important factors influencing the voters' perceptions and receptivity to electoral communications. But, while increased level of information does heighten the level of political awareness, it does not determine the final outcome. An important aspect was that families largely tended to vote as single units with men generally deciding who to vote for. Women showed relatively little interest in politics (though comprising an important 45% of voters) and their under representation in the study necessitated the need for weighting. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the middle of the elections adds an important dimension to the research, from those who voted in a normal election and those in the 'sympathy wave'. This study, though conducted under unusual circumstances does provide a much needed insight into the political changes in the country and the increasing use of US inspired media driven campaign practices of political marketing combining comfortably with conventional practices of political marketing in India. A final yet important aspect of this research is the exploration of the problems of survey research in a country of cultural plurality such as India. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, South Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2230

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