From grassroots movement to parliament: strategic communication and the achievement of public legitimacy. Case study: PAN (People – Animals – Nature)

Naíde Müller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Strategic communication has progressively claimed a broader role in society, and in fostering social capital, civic engagement, and democracy. Thus, activism has received much attention in public relations theory and practice. In the Portuguese case, PAN fits this concern in line with the new political parties founded bottom-up by activists’ social opposition movements. In 2015, PAN managed to enter a parliamentary system that had remained in- accessible to new political parties for almost 20 years. This study is based on a qualitative methodology, anchored in the discursive analysis of public relations positioning elements in the original manifesto of the grassroots movement that originated PAN. A tag cloud‐generating software (wordArt.com) was also used to analyze word frequency and identify the main themes of the document. In-depth interviews with PAN policymakers were carried out to analyze how the party communication strategies may have impacted its significant growth. Findings indicate that a strategic approach to communication influenced the transition from a civic movement to a formal parliamentary party. PAN’s manifesto was discursively constructed to position the movement as trustworthy with high ethical and moral standards. PAN used the possibilities of social media to build a collective identity, from the grassroots, based on specific narratives.
Translated title of the contributionDo movimento popular ao parlamento: comunicação estratégica e a conquista da legitimidade pública. Estudo de caso: PAN (Pessoas – Animais – Natureza)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-221
Number of pages21
JournalPublic Sciences & Policies | Ciências e Políticas Públicas
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Strategic communication
  • Public relations
  • Positioning
  • Civic engagement

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