Conceptualizing a Populist Narrative

Rationales, Attributes, Implications

In: Populism
Kostiantyn Yanchenko Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Hamburg Germany

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Narrative analysis represents the cutting edge in various domains of political communication research and has recently made its way into populism studies. Nevertheless, despite the growing academic interest in populist storytelling and populist narratives, a conceptual foundation of these phenomena remains scarce. Situated at the intersection of political communication and literary studies, the article fills this gap by proposing a systematized concept of a populist narrative. Building upon the minimum definitions of the background concepts, the study identifies a set of necessary attributes shared by populist narratives. It further discusses the effectiveness of populist narratives with the focus on four dimensions: archetypal structure, emotionality, suspensefulness, and ability to facilitate identification. Against the backdrop of the increasing role of storytelling in contemporary politics, the article facilitates a more coherent and meaningful examination of populist narratives.

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