Empathy as a strategy of bridging the gap between politicians and the people of Serbia

  • Vladimira Ilić The Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
empathy, instrumentalizing emotions, politicians, citizens, Serbia


This paper strives to emphasize one of the roles of emotion in the political activities of political actors. In the last few years, the viewing of politicians as Others by the citizens of Serbia is becoming more and more apparent. Politics itself is viewed through the actions of politicians, which are accompanied by a more and more passive attitude towards politics in general. The paper considers empathy as one of the strategies of overcoming the lack of confidence that citizens have toward domestic politicians, or rather the attempted closeness of politicians and the citizenry and the emotional binding of (certain) politicians to the voters. Empathy is approached as the emotional ability of a person to empathize with another person or group, wherein it is considered not as an emotion but as a capability which leads to certain experiences which we call emotions. Certain politicians demonstrate it, as a strategy of displaying good will, through their public speeches and culturally standardized behavior which is, further, considered as political communication directed towards the public. Aside from the speech and behavior of politicians, the paper analyzes the reactions of the citizens to it in the form of internet comments. As this paper is part of a wider study on the use of emotions, the aim is to use this example to point out that emotions can not only be but are an important aspect of political communication and politics as such.
How to Cite
Ilić, V. (2016). Empathy as a strategy of bridging the gap between politicians and the people of Serbia. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology, 9(4), 955-976. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v9i4.8