Journal article

The appeal of populist ideas, strategies and styles: A theoretical model and research design for analyzing populist political communication


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  • Unpublished, 2016
Published in:
  • National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR): Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century. - 2016, p. 1-60
English This working paper approaches the study of populism from an explicit political communication perspective and thereby adds a new and original dimension to the existing literature. It first reviews the existing approaches to populism and then combines them within an integrative framework for populism research. This framework understands populism as ideology, strategy, or style and arranges them in a way that permits the empirical analysis of populism in political communication, media and the attitudes of the people. The framework serves as a guide for developing straightforward instruments to identify and quantitatively measure populism in the self-presentation of actors, in news media and other forms of communication, as well as in public opinion. By virtue of the broadness of the framework, it is applicable to longitudinal and crosscultural analyses of populism, as well as the investigation of the flow of populist ideology among political actors, the media, and the public. It takes a non-normative and primarily analytical perspective. The working paper has two major aims. First, it is intended to provide a common ground for populism research within Research Module II of the NCCR Democracy at the University of Zurich. Second, it is intended to distribute our framework for investigating the relationship between populism and political communication to other scholars and thereby facilitate cumulative research.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales et du management
Département des sciences de la communication et des médias
  • English
Information, communication and media sciences
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Open access status
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