During the British General Election 2010, a major innovation was introduced in part to improve engagement: A series of three live-televised leadership debates took place in which the leader of each of the three main parties-Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative-answered questions posed by members of the public and subsequently debated issues pertinent to the questions. In this study, we consider these potentially ground-breaking debates as the kind of event that was likely to generate discussion. We investigate various aspects of the "talk" that emerged as a result of watching the debates. As an exploratory study concerned with situated accounts of the participants' experiences, we take an interpretive perspective. In this paper we outline the meta-narratives (of talk) associated with the viewing of the leadership debates that were identified, concluding our analysis by suggesting that putting a live debate on television and promoting and positioning it as a major innovation is likely to mean that is how the audience will make sense of it: as a media event.
- leadership debate
- media event
- political talk
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science