SPECIAL ISSUE ON POPULISM AND THE MEDIA ACROSS EUROPE
The recent electoral success of populist actors across Europe has been accompanied by an increased interest in the varied facets of the phenomenon of “populism” and, more recently, its relationship with the media. While much attention has been paid to populist parties and political leaders, their link to the media was less in the focus. The success of populist parties has resulted in publications seeking to determine and to understand the characteristics of populist political actors and their views on the one hand, and how voters respond to them on the other. Nevertheless, analyzing the relationships between populist political actors, the media (journalists) and society (voters) is key to explain the success of populist parties and populist discourse in general.
Adopting the perspective of political communication in populism studies makes it possible to focus not only on ideology, but also on how it is packaged into messages, and the role that different media play in disseminating them. In fact, there is a complex relationship between populist actors and the media. On the one hand, populist parties are said to be dependent on the media for communication and they heavily feed on public attention through various forms of publicity. On the other hand, populist actors are eager to contest the traditional media, considering them as the appanage of the establishment. However, their maneuvering space has been widened thanks to a more and more sophisticated use of social media channels. The proliferation of social media has provided new space for political communication, where populist actors exercise their voice and interact with citizens who are no longer just receivers of the populist messages, but also active participants in the communication process. Insofar as populist parties usually contest the narratives of established political actors, social media may provide them with a welcome opportunity to avoid journalistic framing and contextualization. But to what extent populist parties communicate through and past traditional media, and with what effect, is still under-researched.
For this special issue we invite submissions that explore relations between populist actors, media and citizens. Particularly, we seek papers addressing the following questions: What role does the traditional and online/social media play in spreading populist messages? How do journalists perceive and approach populist actors? How much attention does the media pay to populist political actors and messages? What strategies do populist actors use to gain media attention? What are the political and social consequences of mediatization of populist political communication? What are the effects of populist messages on their audiences, in particular public sentiment towards controversial issues, and the vote? The Call for Papers welcomes papers focusing on one or more of these aspects. Comparative approaches are highly welcome.