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Right-wing populism and the dynamics of style: a discourse-analytic perspective on mediated political performances

Abstract : This article offers new ways of conceptualising style in right wing populist communicative performances, by foregrounding a structured and conceptually informed use of “style” that moves beyond the descriptive sense routinely employed in political communication. Specifically, it explores how a discourse-analytic approach to mediated populist discourse can inform and advance the current understanding of populist ‘style’ by analysing some contextually produced linguistic and discursive choices in populist rhetorical repertoires—i.e., the communicative strategies that are deployed in mediated contexts for right-wing populist political communication. Taking three illustrative examples of right wing populist party performances on TV news and current affairs broadcasts in Greece (GD), France (FN) and the UK (UKIP), the speakers’ use of a range of rhetorical devices is examined using models from socio-linguistics and discourse analysis: aspects of register shifts by GD in blame attribution speeches, interactional ‘bad manners’ in a French political debate, and Nigel Farage speaking ‘candidly’ in three different contexts of news reporting from the UK. In taking such a qualitative approach, it is argued that populist style cannot be defined in terms of one single feature, or set of features, common to all right wing populists and transferrable from one socio-cultural context to another, but more usefully as a set of motivated choices among alternative semiotic resources (linguistic/discursive, interactional and visual), which have social and cultural resonance. This focus on micro-level features of mediated interaction thus offers a more fine-grained understanding of style than is currently the case, as it shows how right-wing populist politicians’ performative styles are situated within specific (here European) socio-cultural and political communicative contexts; in this study, this is to say, the various television broadcasts in which they occur.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 5:12:12 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 3:38:22 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03471203, version 1



Joanna Thornborrow. Right-wing populism and the dynamics of style: a discourse-analytic perspective on mediated political performances. Palgrave Communications, 2018, pp.1-11. ⟨hal-03471203⟩



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