The Performances of Right-Wing Populism: Populist Discourse‚ Embodied Styles and Forms of News Reporting

  • Mats Ekström
  • Andrew Morton


The 2014 European Parliament elections defined a key ‘moment in time’ in European politics, a moment in time marked principally by the rise of right-wing populist parties. In this chapter, Ekström and Morton analyse the mediated performances of populist leaders to ask two questions. Firstly, what constitutes the performances and the appeal to the people articulated in television news and current affairs across countries? Secondly, how has television news journalism responded to the challenges of reporting on an increasingly prominent political populism? The study shows general features of populist discourse, rhetorical strategies and claims of exclusively representing ‘the people’. It also presents significant differences in the embodied styles of individual politicians and how the performed cultural identities of the populist politicians resonate myths and stereotypes in the specific national contexts. Finally, the comparative analyses demonstrate the ambivalence of a journalism exposing populist politicians for extraordinary critical interrogations and providing favourable environments for the performances of populism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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