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This article suggests that political fictions can play a significant role for citizens in permitting them to imagine how key processes work within polities. Using the concept of ‘vernacular theory', it explores how politicians’ behaviour, the operation of British political institutions and the country's external relations are theorised across a range of films and television programmes in the three decades since 1979. The article also attempts to account for and assess the vernacular theories observed. It concludes that while these fictions all too frequently theorise a dysfunctional political system and depict self-interested and incompetent politicians, we should not isolate or overstate the potency of vernacular theories, nor neglect the responsibilities of elected politicians in relation to their fictional counterparts.
Author(s): Randall N
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Parliamentary Affairs
Print publication date: 21/12/2010
ISSN (print): 0031-2290
ISSN (electronic): 1460-2482
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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