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Naturalising populism as a collaborative interactional practice in broadcast media

Kantara, Argyro 2022. Naturalising populism as a collaborative interactional practice in broadcast media. Porsché, Yannik, Scholz, Ronny and Singh, Jaspal Naveel, eds. Institutionality Studies of Discursive and Material (Re-)ordering, Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 277-299. (10.1007/978-3-030-96969-1_12)

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Previous research on the ways populism as a political style becomes manifest in institutional interaction has examined it as an isolated interactional feature of politicians’ talk, them being either right-wing (Ekström et al. in Palgrave Communications 4, 2018) or mainstream (Bossetta in The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 19:715–34, 2017). In this chapter, I argue that populism should not be examined as a feature of politicians’ talk in isolation, but that journalists’ interactional practices should also be investigated in any discussion of populism in broadcast media. Within the area of institutional conversation analysis in this chapter, I will link ‘mediated populism’ (Mazzoleni in The International Encyclopaedia of Communication, 2008)—the idea that the media may, even unintentionally, help populists build their public performance ‘by endorsing or opposing populist performances’ (Mazzoleni in The Media and Neo-Populism, Praeger, Westport, CT, 2003, 2)—with ‘mainstream populism’ (Snow and Moffitt in Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 50:271–92, 2012) as ‘political style’ (Moffitt and Tormey in Political Studies 62:381–97, 2014)—the idea that mainstream politicians can dip in and out of populist performances for political and electoral gains. I will argue that journalists’ interactional practices enable mainstream politicians to portray a populist identity; in a similar manner as the media help populist politicians build their identity, they help mainstream politicians build their mainstream populist identities. By doing so, journalists co-legitimise populist practices. In effect this means that the institution of televised news interviews plays an active role in naturalising populism, making it a mainstream practice and stripping it off, of any ‘extreme’ or ‘fringe’ connotations it might have for voters or established parties.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9783030969684
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2022 11:45

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