Using the Past in Populist Communicational Strategies

How the Memory of Securitate is Instrumentalised in Romanian Politics?

In: Populism
Ionut Valentin Chiruta Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu Tartu Estonia

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This article investigates how political strategies interrelate populist rhetoric with memory issues. By looking at the case of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) from Romania, between 2017–2019, this article reveals how the slide to populism, generated by cyclical confrontations with the rule of law institutions, steered the psd to adopt conspirational beliefs and appeal to traumatic memories to frame the judiciary as the new Securitate. Through the use of discourse analysis and virtual ethnography, this article analyses party resolutions and political rallies. This article explains how the populist rhetoric created a new hegemonic narrative of the judiciary, by intersecting its values and symbolism with the memory of the former Securitate from the Communist period.

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