By focusing on the Facebook activities of eighty-three political leaders from twenty-six Western and Latin American countries, we analyze their reliance on elements of populist communication for their competitive strategies. By integrating both a communication-centered and an actor-centered approach to the study of populism, we tackle four major research questions: Do populist and non-populist leaders adopt similar communication strategies on Facebook? Is there any evidence of the so-called populist zeitgeist in such arena? What different combinations between the so-called three “elements of populist communication” characterize the communication strategies of political leaders on Facebook? Are there major differences between Western and Latin American leaders? The results of our analysis provide an important contribution to the existing literature on populism and political communication in different respects. First, the populist zeitgeist “thesis” does not apply to the communication strategies of political leaders on Facebook. Second, the spread of elements of populist communication in Latin America is considerably lower in comparison with Western countries, irrespective of party ideological background. Finally, this paper identifies all the logical combinations that can occur between the interplay of the different elements of populist communication, thus enabling the classification of the communication strategies employed by political leaders on Facebook.

A Populist Zeitgeist? The Communication Strategies of Western and Latin American Political Leaders on Facebook

Zulianello, Mattia
;
2018-01-01

Abstract

By focusing on the Facebook activities of eighty-three political leaders from twenty-six Western and Latin American countries, we analyze their reliance on elements of populist communication for their competitive strategies. By integrating both a communication-centered and an actor-centered approach to the study of populism, we tackle four major research questions: Do populist and non-populist leaders adopt similar communication strategies on Facebook? Is there any evidence of the so-called populist zeitgeist in such arena? What different combinations between the so-called three “elements of populist communication” characterize the communication strategies of political leaders on Facebook? Are there major differences between Western and Latin American leaders? The results of our analysis provide an important contribution to the existing literature on populism and political communication in different respects. First, the populist zeitgeist “thesis” does not apply to the communication strategies of political leaders on Facebook. Second, the spread of elements of populist communication in Latin America is considerably lower in comparison with Western countries, irrespective of party ideological background. Finally, this paper identifies all the logical combinations that can occur between the interplay of the different elements of populist communication, thus enabling the classification of the communication strategies employed by political leaders on Facebook.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3009295
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