Image de Sharon McCutcheon

2022

Objets en lévitation

Analyzing the occurrences of the term populis* in the parliamentary discourse of French and Spanish politicians

Shchinova, N. 

Référence 

Shchinova, N. Analyzing the occurrences of the term populis* in the parliamentary discourse of French and Spanish politicians. Political Discourse: New Approaches to New Challenges? (Université de Lorraine, France, du 07/03/2022 au 08/03/2022).

Résumé

Populism is a widely used polysemic term claimed to be the “main political buzzword of the 21st century” (Mudde & Rovira Kaltwasser, 2017, p. 1). This study investigates populism as a keyword in discourse (Williams, 1976; Krieg-Planque, 2009) and focuses on the actual uses of the term and its derivatives by French and Spanish politicians during parliamentary debates. More specifically, we analyze the uses of the term populis* (e.g. populisme, populiste) in two datasets containing plenary debates with at least one token of populis* pronounced in 2019 in the French National Assembly and the Spanish Congress of Deputies. First, we observe the discursive context and the co-occurrences with other terms in order to determine (i) which political actors employed the term; (ii) what pragmatic functions of populis* are conveyed through different meanings attached to the term. Preliminary findings suggest that in both datasets, the term appears in a variety of contexts and is used by politicians from left to right. However, there are more occurrences of the term in discourses by the center-right in both datasets. Moreover, populis* takes predominantly negative connotations and functions as a negative label to discredit political opponents. Finally, the study shows that the actual uses of the term and the meanings it conveys in political discourses differ from academic definitions.