Stereotypes and Manipulation in the Scientific and Medial Narrations About Poland’s Electoral Space

  • Zbigniew Rykiel Institute of Sociology, Rzeszów University, Rzeszów, Poland

Abstract

Much attention on voting behaviour is paid of not only scholars but also the media so these considerations inevitably grow shallower and subordinated to ideologisation and tabloidisation. The referred to analyses are therefore based not so on sound knowledge but rather on superficial associations and stereotypes, if not ignorance. Several types of the ailments would be discussed, viz. (1) overestimating of the results of opinion polls, (2) manipulation of the media, (3) the trivialisation of reasons for casting invalid votes and voting abstention, (4) the arrogant political interpretations of the electoral results, (5) incompetent prattling about the electorate flow and (6) a superficial interpretation of the role of the old political divisions in shaping the electoral space. The empirical analysis for Poland indicated that the nineteenth-century political divisions account for as little as 4% of the voting behaviour. This result contrast much to the general belief in the structural role of these divisions. The belief, widely published in the media, is based on purely cartographic rather than statistical analyses. The cartographic analyses are misleading because: (1) they show areas with a relative rather than absolute dominance of political phenomena, usually the support for a party; (2) they show a general trend rather than any clear-cut gradients or boundaries. The interpretation of cartographic analyses is therefore mainly intuitive and based on associations rather than facts. The spatial variation of voting behaviour is, however, quantifiable, so it can be calculated rather than interpreted in purely graphic categories. The perception of social and political phenomena in society is shaped by media coverage. Manipulation and indoctrination in the media is a part of a more extensive phenomenon of public ignorance.

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Published
2017-08-16
How to Cite
Rykiel, Z. (2017). Stereotypes and Manipulation in the Scientific and Medial Narrations About Poland’s Electoral Space. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2017.v13n10p%p