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Virality and Morphogenesis of Right Wing Internet Populism

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Eva Kimminich and Julius Erdmann

Information and its individual interpretations are highly discussed in social media. Their use and misuse is an important subject for cultural and media studies. The theoretical framework of this volume is based on a synopsis of socio-constructivist and semiotic paradigms, which permit insight into ongoing adjustments of the social perception of reality and the thereby changing benchmarks. The assembled micro-studies concentrate primarily on right-wing Internet populism in Germany, France and Italy and allow a more precise idea of the effects the disseminated myths, metaphors and memes can have: Becoming viral, they can have an influence on a society’s semiosphere, i.e.on common sense and social life.

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Neither Right Nor Left

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The Rise of “Unpolitical” Right-Wing Rhetoric

Abstract: The article analyzes the phenomenon of the spread of traditional right-wing ideas as “neither right- nor left-wing” through a process of political ideological naturalization in the recent Italian political landscape. This process is the result of a ground-breaking shift in the Italian categories of political discourse, from the traditional left versus right opposition to a more complex overlap of establishment versus anti-establishment, as well as ideological versus non-ideological categories. As a result, different traditional right-wing ideas are now considered as ideologically neutral and common-sense-driven. This is evident mainly in the political discourse around the Five Stars Movement (M5S), in which typical right-wing topics and agendas are now recontextualized in non-ideological forms. However, this phenomenon is not limited to M5S, but is implemented by different parties and for recent events in the Italian political landscape.

Keywords: Movimento 5 stelle, right-wing, rhetorics

1Introduction

The European political scene has recently been characterized both by emerging polarization (Kriesi et al. 2008) and the return of extremist and populist beliefs (Bornschier 2010), leading to the rise of a right-wing body of ideas. However, in addition to these phenomena, the Italian political landscape shows a renovated rise of specific political ideas, traditionally assumed to be right-wing, but recently spreading as “neither right- nor left-wing”, which will be called “colorless”1. In this way, these ideas undergo a process of ideological naturalization and are thus become accepted and favored at...

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