Political rallies as assemblages for transportation and communication: the case of the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign
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DescriptionAlthough rallies are essential to political communication campaigns, they have been little studied. Thus, this article presents an ethnographic observation of the Democratic campaign rallies during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Two research questions structure the paper: How do material things—including human bodies—and their transportation structure the production and reproduction of rallies as political communication systems? What kind of political communication assemblages constructs the materiality of rallies? The text presents three conclusions. 1) A substantial part of the materiality of these rallies was composed of human bodies and many other things that were transported to a specific space to have copresent interactions with other bodies. 2) The production of these rallies required creating an infrastructural space built upon transporting a myriad of material objects to a specific place. These objects constituted the material bases for developing these rallies as a set of political communication practices. 3) These rallies can be conceptualised as mobile and itinerant assemblages for transportation and communication. These rallies were a means of transportation that moved the candidate’s body across a vast territory and a (political) media of communication designed to transcend the time and space in which these events were produced.