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Politics and populism across modes and media

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Edited By Ruth Breeze and Ana María Fernández Vallejo

The relationship between politics and digital media is currently a focus of intense interest: the symbiosis between the two spheres is such that political activity is now almost inseparable from media communication. However, the implications of this development are not fully understood. Digital media are a powerful tool in the hands of mainstream parties, but also make it easier than ever before for the public to express their reactions, or for new actors to enter the political arena. This volume explores the intersection between politics and new media, which involves crucial ideals, values and aspirations, such as informed democracy, citizens’ empowerment and social debate, but also negative aspects like manipulation and polarization.

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Miguel Ayerbe Linares: Talking about populists in Twitter: Politicians’ linguistic behaviour in comments about populists in Germany and Austria

Talking about populists in Twitter: Politicians’

linguistic behaviour in comments about populists in

Germany and Austria

Extract

Miguel Ayerbe Linares

The role of the social media in politics has been under close scrutiny for over twenty years (Altheide 2004; Dahlgren 2009; Strömback/Esser 2009; Nahon et al. 2011; Chadwick 2013, 2014; Groshek/Engelbert 2013; Klinger/Svensson 2015; Broersma/Graham 2016; Chadwick et al. 2016; Enli 2016, 2017; Graham et al. 2016; Nahon 2016). According to some experts, the advent of social media has wrought fundamental changes in the relationship between politicians and the citizens they represent since, as Engesser et al. suggest (2017: 1110), these media offer a direct channel of communication from politicians to ordinary people, lessening the intermediary role formerly played by the traditional media, and the rules that these imposed. However, the changes brought by social media amount to more than simply facilitating politicians’ access to their audiences: they also allow the audiences to participate actively, or in other words, they enable citizens to take part in public political debate (Gil de Zúñiga et al. 2014: 613; Skoric et al. 2016: 1818; Enli 2017: 221).

Regarding the relationship between social media and populism, which forms the framework for the present study, previous authors have analysed populists’ communication strategies, the way they present themselves, and even the way they interact with their audiences. Bobba (2018), Engesser et al. (2017), and Groshek and Engelbert (2013) draw attention to the growing academic bibliography on the use of resources like Facebook and Twitter in the political sphere, but they contrast this with the relative paucity of...

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