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Authoritative GovernancePolicy Making in the Age of Mediatization$
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Maarten A. Hajer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281671.001.0001

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Performing Authority After the Assassination of Theo van Gogh 1

Performing Authority After the Assassination of Theo van Gogh 1

(p.76) 3 Performing Authority After the Assassination of Theo van Gogh1
Authoritative Governance

Maarten A. Hajer (Contributor Webpage)

Justus Uitermark

Oxford University Press

When Dutch filmmaker Van Gogh is murdered by an Islamist extremist, local politicians Cohen and Aboutaleb face the task of giving meaning to the murder. Their tolerant, pluralistic approach of ‘de boel bij elkaar houden’ (keeping things together) is publicly ridiculed by the so-called Friends of Theo. Protagonists and antagonists try to (counter-)script the meaning of the murder on constitutional and non-constitutional stages, using different repertoires to enact authority. The ruling media format privileges emotional repertoires over the factual genre of procedural assurance. The discourse analysis illuminates how the ‘soft’ approach of ‘de boel bij elkaar houden’ changes to include notions of tough action. Distinct divisions or roles between both politicians emerge. The chapter tries to make sense of the question: To what extend can the success of the administrators be attributed to their particular actions? It applies the notion of ‘performative habitus’ (embodied dispositions shaped over many previous years of symbolic labour) to transcend the dualism between the politician as a strategic actor and the politician as being determined by context; personal authority is a co-production of performative habitus and setting.

Keywords:   politics of integration, Dutch politics, Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh, moral shock, performative habitus, media-derived authority, pseudo-event, procedural assurance, emotive rerouting, bridging and wedging, scripting, setting and staging, discourse analysis, politics as drama

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