Populism is an ambiguous term in political science referring at the same time to demagogy and demophily (Mazzoleni 2004) that ultimately entails putting into question the institutional order by constructing an underdog as a historical agent in opposition to the way things stand in society. This paper investigates the language of populism from a contrastive perspective, based on a corpus of American and Italian election campaign speeches between 2009 and 2016. The approach adopted is interdisciplinary, encompassing the historical, social, textual (De Beaugrande and Dressler 1981) and critical discourse analysis perspectives (Wodak 2007), with a main focus on the rhetorical strategies employed, including metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) and framing (Lakoff 2004). Our findings show that, while each populist politician tends to evoke a specific idealised past in the form of identity narrative, drawing on different domains to shape their oratory, i.e. advertising slogans, cinema and satire, they all emphasise a profound “us and them” dualism in society between the people and the political establishment. However, the fact that the rhetorical devices employed do not differ consistently from those of non-populist politicians, Crafting an effective message for the masses, or the art of populism 126 but only imply different framing strategies, leads us to conclude that some topics more easily lend themselves to be viewed as part of a populist oratory, and that populism is ultimately an ontological category (Laclau 2005a), rather than a precise form of ideology.

Crafting an effective message for the masses, or the art of populism: An Analysis of new populist rhetoric from a textual perspective

LORENZETTI, Maria Ivana
2016

Abstract

Populism is an ambiguous term in political science referring at the same time to demagogy and demophily (Mazzoleni 2004) that ultimately entails putting into question the institutional order by constructing an underdog as a historical agent in opposition to the way things stand in society. This paper investigates the language of populism from a contrastive perspective, based on a corpus of American and Italian election campaign speeches between 2009 and 2016. The approach adopted is interdisciplinary, encompassing the historical, social, textual (De Beaugrande and Dressler 1981) and critical discourse analysis perspectives (Wodak 2007), with a main focus on the rhetorical strategies employed, including metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) and framing (Lakoff 2004). Our findings show that, while each populist politician tends to evoke a specific idealised past in the form of identity narrative, drawing on different domains to shape their oratory, i.e. advertising slogans, cinema and satire, they all emphasise a profound “us and them” dualism in society between the people and the political establishment. However, the fact that the rhetorical devices employed do not differ consistently from those of non-populist politicians, Crafting an effective message for the masses, or the art of populism 126 but only imply different framing strategies, leads us to conclude that some topics more easily lend themselves to be viewed as part of a populist oratory, and that populism is ultimately an ontological category (Laclau 2005a), rather than a precise form of ideology.
978-1-4438-9767-9
Political Discourse
Rhetoric
Populism
Constrastive Linguistics
Framing and Metaphor
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Lorenzetti_paper_Crafting_-compresso.pdf

solo utenti autorizzati

Descrizione: Capitolo di libro - Versione pubblicata
Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Accesso ristretto
Dimensione 8.02 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
8.02 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/950209
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact