“In the land of elections, the populist man is king”: The online communication of Basta and Vox in the 2019 European elections

Authors

  • Célia Belim Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences. University of Lisbon

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51698/tripodos.2020.49p109-128

Keywords:

Populism, Basta, European elections, online communication, Vox

Abstract

This article, having an Iberian circumscription, focuses on populist parties – the Portuguese Basta and the Spanish Vox –, specifically on their online communication conducted in the context of the 2019 European elections. Using the mixed method and having a corpus comprised of Facebook posts (n=40) and videos (n=4), a triple content analysis was conducted: quantitative, qualitative, and rhetorical. The results show that, in terms of substance in Facebook, the two political actors focus more on the building of a sense of ingroup favoritism – in order to explore the feeling of inclusion, being the posts with this thematic substance the most liked, shared, and commented –, are unequivocal in presenting themselves as representatives of popular sovereignty and do not denote conflict in national and European entities. In terms of style, the use of visual image reveals that there are more posts focused on positive emotionality. In the videos, the tone against Europe is more critical and the use of rhetorical diversity is noted, such as emotional bipolarity, Manichaeism, exemplification, use of question mark, recency effect, repetition, factual evidence.

Author Biography

Célia Belim, Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences. University of Lisbon

Professora Auxliar Ciências da Comunicação

References

Aalberg, Toril; Esser, Frank; Reinemann, Carsten; Strömbäck, Jesper, and Vreese, Claes H. de (eds.) (2017). Populist Political Communication in Europe. London: Routledge.

Abts, Koen and Rummens, Stefan (2007). “Populism ‘versus’ Democracy”. Political Studies, 55(2), pp. 405-424.

Albertazzi, Daniele and McDonnell, Duncan (2008). “Introduction: The Sceptre and the Spectre”. In: Albertazzi, Daniele and McDonnell, Duncan (eds.). Twenty-first Century Populism. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-11.

Anderson, Benedict (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.

Aristóteles (2005). Retórica. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.

Berelson, Bernard (1952). Content Analysis in Communication Research. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Caiani, Manuela and Porta, Donatella della (2011). “The Elitist Populism of the Extreme Right: A Frame Analysis of Extreme Rightwing Discourses in Italy and Germany”. Acta Politica, 46(2), pp. 180-202. DOI: <10.1057/ ap.2010.28>.

Canovan, Margaret (1999). “Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy”. Political Studies, 47(1), pp. 2-16. DOI: <10.1111/1467-9248.00184>.

Clement, J. (2019). “Facebook: Number of Monthly Active Users Worldwide 2008-2019”. statistica. Available at: <https://www.statista. com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthlyactive-facebook-users-worldwide/. Accessed 3 September 2020>.

Colleoni, Elanor; Rozza, Alessandro, and Arvidsson, Adam (2014). “Echo Chamber or Public Sphere? Predicting Political Orientation and Measuring Political Homophily in Twitter Using Big Data”. Journal of Communication, 64(2), pp. 317-332.

Devine, Christopher J. (2015). “Ideological Social Identity: Psychological Attachment to Ideological In-groups As a Political Phenomenon and a Behavioral Influence”. Political Science Faculty Publications, 99.

Engesser, Sven; Ernst, Nicole; Esser, Frank, and Büchel, Florin (2016). “Populism and Social Media: How Politicians Spread a Fragmented Ideology”. Information, Communication & Society, 20(8), pp. 1109-1126. DOI: <10.1080/1 369118x.2016.1207697>.

Engesser, Sven; Fawzi, Nayla, and Larsson, Anders (2017). “Populist Online Communication: Introduction to the Special Issue”. Information, Communication & Society, 20(9), pp. 1279-1292. DOI: <10.1080/1369118x.2017.13 28525>.

Ernst, Nicole; Engesser, Sven; Büchel, Florin; Blassnig, Sina, and Esser, Frank (2017). “Extreme Parties and Populism: An Analysis of Facebook and Twitter Across Six Countries”. Information, Communication & Society, 20(9), pp. 1347-1364. DOI: <10.1080/13 69118x.2017.1329333>.

Hameleers, Michael and Schmuck, Desirée (2017). “It’s Us Against Them: A Comparative Experiment on the Effects of Populist Messages Communicated Via Social Media”. Information. Communication & Society, 20(9), pp. 1425-1444. DOI: <10.1080/1369118x.2017.1 328523>.

Hameleers, Michael; Bos, Linda, and Vreese, Claes de (2016). “‘They Did It”: The Effects of Emotionalized Blame Attribution in Populist Communication”. Communication Research, 44(6), pp. 870-900. DOI: <10.1177/0093650216644026>.

Hawkins, Kirk (2009). “Is Chávez Populist? Measuring Populist Discourse in Comparative Perspective”. Comparative Political Studies, 42(8), pp. 1040-1067.

—. (2010). Venezuela’s Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Influencer Marketing Hub (2019). “50+ Social Media Sites You Need to Know in 2020”. Available at: .

Jagers, Jan and Walgrave, Stefaan (2007). “Populism As Political Communication Style: An Empirical Study of Political Parties’ Discourse in Belgium”. European Journal of Political Research, 46(3), pp. 319-345. DOI: <10.1111/ j.1475-6765.2006.00690.x>.

Krippendorff, Klaus (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Koller, Veronika (2009). “Analysing Collective Identity in Discourse: Social Actors and Contexts”. Semen. <https://doi.org/10.4000/ semen.8877>.

Mair, Peter (2002). “Populist Democracy vs Party Democracy”. In: Mény, Yves and Surel, Yves (eds.). Democracies and the Populist Challenge. NY: Palgrave, pp. 81-98.

Mazzoleni, Gianpetro and Bracciale, Roberta (2018). “Socially Mediated Populism: The Communicative Strategies of Political Leaders on Facebook”. Palgrave Communications, 4(1), p. 50. DOI: <10.1057/s41599-018-0104-x>.

Mazzoleni, Gianpetro; Stewart, Julianne, and Horsfield, Bruce (2003). The Media and Neo-populism: A Contemporary Comparative Analysis. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Mols, Frank and Jetten, Jolanda (2014). “No Guts, no Glory: How Framing the Collective Past Paves the Way for Anti-immigrant Sentiments”. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 43, pp. 74-86. DOI: <10. 1016/j.ijintrel.2014.08.014>.

Mudde, Cas (2004). “The Populist Zeitgeist”. Government and Opposition, 39(4), pp. 541-563. DOI: <10.1111/j.1477-7053.2004.00135.x>.

—. (2007). Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Negrea-Busuioc, Elena (2016). “‘Of the People or for the People’? An Analysis of Populist Discourse in the 2014 European Parliament Elections in Romania”. Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, 18(2), pp. 39-53.

Neuendorf, Kimberly (2017). Content Analysis Guidebook. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Pauwels, Teun (2011). “Measuring Populism: A Quantitative Text Analysis of Party Literature in Belgium”. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 21(1), pp. 97-119.

Rooduijn, Matthijs (2013). “The Mesmerising Message: The Diffusion of Populism in Public Debates in Western European Media”. Political Studies, 62(4), pp. 726-744. DOI: <10.1111/1467-9248.12074>.

Rooduijn, Matthijs and Pauwels, Teun (2011). “Measuring Populism: Comparing Two Methods of Content Analysis”. West European Politics, 34(6), pp. 1272-1283.

Schmuck, Desirée and Hameleers, Michael (2019). “Closer to the People: A Comparative Content Analysis of Populist Communication on Social Networking Sites in Pre- and PostElection Periods”. Information, Communication & Society, 23(10), pp. 1-18. DOI: <10.1080 /1369118x.2019.1588909>.

Smith, Aaron and Duggan, Maeve (2012). “Online Political Videos and Campaign 2012”. Pew Research Center. Available at: . Accessed 3 September 2020.

Sousa, R. Pedro (2019). “Que história é essa do populismo?”. Observador. Available at: <https://observador.pt/opiniao/que-historiae-essa-do-populismo/>. Accessed 3 September 2020.

Stanford, Kate (2016). “How Political Ads and Video Content Influence Voter Opinion”. Think with Google. Available at: . Accessed 3 September 2020.

Stanley, Ben (2008). “The Thin Ideology of Populism”. Journal of Political Ideologies, 13(1), pp. 95-110.

Taggart, Paul (2000). Populism. Buckingham; Philadelphia: Open University Press.

—. (2004). “Populism and Representative Politics in Contemporary Europe”. Journal of Political Ideologies, 9(3), pp. 269-288.

Valdivia, Ana (2019). “Far-right Party Vox Becomes the Third Political Force in Spain After Second Election”. Forbes. Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/anagarciavaldivia/2019/11/12/far-right-vox-becomes-thethird-political-force-in-spain-after-second- election/#59ddfe467f85>. Accessed 3 September 2020.

Zhang, Yan and Wildemuth, Barbara M. (2009). “Qualitative Analysis of Content”. In: Wildemuth, Barbara (ed.). Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, pp. 308-319.

Downloads

Published

2021-02-05