Political Campaigning in a Developing Country: A case study of the Cook Islands

Elections Government Political campaigns Cook Islands

Previous studies of political campaigning have focused on developed and industrialised nations. This research analysed the three phases of campaigning in a case study of a developing nation, the Cook Islands. The specific features of campaigning examined were the permanent nature of campaigns, the role of the media, the technological development of television and information communication technologies; professionalisation, presidentialisation, centralisation, face-to-face campaigning, Americanisation and hybridisation. The research found that premodern, face-to-face communications are the predominant form of political campaigning, although some elements of the modern campaign are evident also, notably the role of television. Unlike the situation in developed nations, there was very little evidence of the postmodern campaign, such as the use of the internet. There are several obstacles to the modernisation of political campaigning in the Cook Islands: the small population size and the dispersal of the islands across a huge geographic area mean that access to traditional media is fragmented and the cost of new media access is prohibitively high. Demographic trends suggest this situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

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