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Election Posters

Gloria: Popolitik ist mehr Election Poster of the "Alternative Liste" (antecessor of the Green Party), 1986
Source: Plakatdokumentation Kunisch

Visual-political strategies. Posters for the National Assembly elections of the Second Republic.

The election poster presents one of the most important arenas in which an election is fought. Due to its omnipresence, the election poster is an effective means of standing one`s political ground and influencing the votership. Election posters play a crucial role in forming public opinion and can, over time, continuously form the political consciousness of a nation. They are extremely revealing in terms of a country`s political culture and can provide, from a historical perspective, a good overview of the development of parties, their actors, important themes, conflicts and values over time.

Election posters present an essential historical source. While another key election medium - television - only became relevant to electoral politics during the 70`s in Austria, election posters have been determining the communication of political thought throughout the history of the Second Republic. As current research indicates, the importance of the election poster is not to be underestimated in today`s mix of media; Austria belongs to Europe`s most widespread users of poster space. Therefore, the election poster is still an effective tool to disseminate political messages amongst the public (http://www.heimatwerbung.at, 12.4.2005)

As a result of the project, the module Politische Bildstrategien (at the moment only available in German) was produced. By means of selected elections posters from parliamentary election campaigns from 1945 to 2002 the module gives a survey of the
political, social and psychological development of the Second Republic. A contextually rich offering of articles concerning party politics, voter-rights progression, voter behavior; a glossary pertaining to the Austrian party and election process; a summary of all election results of the Second Republic as well as several links and recommended further reading enable to deconstruct the election poster as a historical source in Austria.

Each poster is presented with a detailed description. This should provide for a detailed understanding of all the complexities involved in Austrian elections, their themes, meaning and consequences.

During the project, special attention was paid to communication through imagery, especially the use of symbols, that support the communication- and image-strategies of the respective political parties. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

Mag.a Dr. Ernestine Bennersdorfer eb@kulturmanufaktur.at
Mag.a Getraud Diendorfer diendorfer@demokratiezentrum.org
Mag.a Maria Wirth wirth@demokratiezentrum.org

Austrian National Library/Department of Broadsheets, Posters and Ex Libris [Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Flugblaetter-, Plakate- und Exlibris-Sammlung]

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