New faces of populism : Political self-presentation on Facebook



Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper deals with self-presentation strategies of populists in social media, focusing on videoblogs where populist politicians react to current events. Based on videos uploaded on the personal site of the main Czech populist, Tomio Okamura, the paper first describes the generic structure of such monologic, script-based videoblogs and then identifies some of their most salient discursive strategies and micro-level linguistic features. It notes how the notion of the ‘other’ is discursively constructed through extreme affective polarization (positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation), and how the populist politician skillfully positions himself as both a victim and the ultimate guardian of the ‘will of the people’. Some characteristic features of the populist style are shown to be calculated ambivalence, intensification through emphatic repetitions, proximization of spatial and temporal deixis and, importantly, ironic reversal, thanks to which the speaker can enhance his own counter-position by seemingly agreeing with his opponents. The paper suggests that such videoblogs constitute a particularly effective form of political communication: not only can the videos easily migrate across multiple platforms, but they also provide the source material for other media that comment on the politicians’ controversial statements and, thus, help them to get exposure in the mainstream media.
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