Lebanese political advertising and the dialogic emergence of signs

Diane Riskedahl

Abstract

This paper evaluates the role of written language in the construction of difference by looking at the emergence of two political advertising campaigns in Lebanon in 2006-2007. I will discuss how ad campaigns mounted by opposing Lebanese political factions were engaged in a battle over representing popular sentiment. Specific choices of typography, juxtaposition of codes, layout and physical placement of ads within the political landscape of urban Beirut all directly contributed to creating unique interdiscursive ideological framings for each party coalition. Due to the inter-sectarian nature of the political coalitions, the use of religious symbols was problematic in the construction of coalition identity. Other differentiating aspects such as class, patterns of consumption, and attitudes towards mourning became elemental in the creation of political distinctions and were indexically configured into this dialogue of signs.

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