In recent years a number of political phenomena such as the victory of Trump in the US presidential elections, but also the rise of leftwing populist formations and candidates as Podemos in Spain and Bernie Sanders in the US have demonstrated not only the strength of populist phenomena on both the Left and the Right of the political spectrum, but also their ability to tap into the affordances of social media. How is this digital populism different from traditional forms of populism? To what extent is this populism a regressive force or does it also have the potential to be a force for good? And how do populist formations and candidates use social media as a channel for their political rhetoric?
The presentation will explore the nature of digital populism in a number of leftwing and rightwing phenomena. I will argue that social media contain in themselves a number of elements that lend themselves to populist politics such as the mistrust towards mainstream news media that accompanies them and their emphasis on the participation of ordinary people in discussions and decisions.
Bio: Paolo Gerbaudo is a cultural and political sociologist and a lecturer in digital culture and society at King's College London. He is the author of Tweets and the Streets, a book about social media and activism published by Pluto press in October, 2012 and of the forthcoming The Mask and the Flag. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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