Session Submission Summary

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PRECONFERENCE: Global Perspectives on Populism and the Media - Day 1

Tue, May 22, 15:00 to 19:30, Offsite: Central European U, conference room

Session Submission Type: Panel


An understanding of populism has never been more important in light of the recent social, political and economic tumult, and developments in transnational media cultures. Across the world there have been numerous populist backlashes against elected governments and their policies. The emergent concerns of citizens about, for example, immigration and economic austerity have been exploited by a range of political opportunists, many with access to media resources. A proliferation of digital and social media is in some countries providing new cultural spaces for these actors to disseminate their messages and gain mainstream media attention. Some mainstream political parties and media organizations have pandered to populist political agendas. While populist politics is a well-documented feature of modern political culture, the communicative aspects of populism have been underexplored. Moreover, populist movements are often analyzed with a particular focus on European and American right-wing movements. But populist movements and upheavals have appeared from the Philippines to India to Turkey to Russia. At the same time, variations of populism have arisen on both the right and the left (and in-between) and surfaced in a variety of political systems and traditions.

This pre-conference aims to introduce global perspectives on the study of media, communication and populism, welcoming conceptually innovative submissions that examine populist communication and culture from all around the world. Recognizing the location of the preconference, the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the conference will also dedicate an open-to-the public panel to the rise of populism in East-Central Europe. The venue of the conference, Central European University, is rich in symbolism, as this university has recently been attacked by the populist government of Hungary. This symbolism will hopefully add to the liveliness of the discussions, which we expect to be relevant to academics in a diverse set of disciplines and fields (communication studies, sociology, political science, cultural studies, history, among others) and to non-academics as well.
The pre-conference also aims to be inclusive in perspectives and methodologies. Our aim is to analyze populism’s manifestations and connections to media and communication in the broadest possible sense. Relevant communicative processes of populism may include studies of populist symbols, music, time and memory, political advertising campaigns, social media groups, protest cultures, the narration of political myths, mass media attitudes, media ownership cultures, among others.

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