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Transformations between political discourse and media representations: a comparative analysis of the term populis* in French media
Shchinova, Nadezda and Nuevo Gascó, Raül
Shchinova, Nadezda & Nuevo Gascó, Raül. Transformations between political discourse and media representations: a comparative analysis of the term populis* in French media. Les mutations des discours médiatiques : approche contrastive et interculturelle (Université Grenoble Alpes, France - en ligne, 04/06/2021).
The term populism is constantly used in political and media discourse. However, the meaning of populism is still open to debate among scholars, political actors, mass media and laypeople. A substantial amount of research in several disciplines has been focused on populism as an ideology (Mudde, 2004), as a discursive strategy (Charaudeau, 2011; Zienkowski & Breeze, 2019) and as a “communication phenomenon” (de Vreese et al., 2018). These studies have contributed to the ongoing debate about the role and place of people in a democracy. The way the word and the notion of populism are defined, used and circulated in political and media discourse in European democracies remains understudied. In addition, research looking into the relationship between media and populism in the French context is limited (Hubé & Truan, 2016). Addressing these gaps, we study the construction of the notion of populism in two forums—parliamentary arena and mass media—and from a twofold perspective: linguistics and communication studies. The aim of our study is to explore the uses of the term populis* (i.e., populisme and its derivatives) in a series of political speeches pronounced by politicians in the French Parliament in 2019 and its representation in French media outlets (i.e., Franceinfo, Le Monde, Le Parisien, 20 Minutes). The two datasets analysed in this study consist of discourses containing at least one token of populis* in (1) parliamentary debates held in 2019 and (2) articles from digital media sources. For analytical purposes, we distinguish between public-owned media, “established media” (Wiesslits & Ashuri, 2011), “serious-popular” media (Sparks, 2000), and free daily media. The choice of the media is due to the comparative perspective of our project. The analysis will first offer a common description and contextualisation of the selected speeches and mass media discourses. From the linguistics perspective, we will address the pragmatic meanings and functions of populis* by observing the discursive context and the co-occurrences with other terms. Through its communicative angle, we will explore how discourses are transferred and re-elaborated when switching from one arena to another (e.g., from a public speech to a digital press report) and the structures, mechanisms and actors implied in this process. By adopting a communicative-linguistics approach, our study will provide a better understanding of the role that media play in the circulation of discourses and in the shaping of public debate on the categorisation as “populist” in France.
Online political discourse on populism: from self-expression to aggression
Shchinova, Nadezda; De Cock, Barbara; Hambye, Philippe; Nuevo Gascó, Raül; Roginsky, Sandrine
Shchinova, Nadezda; De Cock, Barbara; Hambye, Philippe; Nuevo Gascó, Raül; Roginsky, Sandrine. Online political discourse on populism: from self-expression to aggression. 17th International Pragmatics Conference (Winterthur, Switzerland - en ligne, du 29/06/2021).
This study discusses the social acts performed through the use of the notion of populism on the social media platform Twitter and focuses on the use of the term populismo and its derivatives (e.g. populista)—henceforth populis*—in the tweets of Spanish politicians and the received interactions. Since the meaning of populism is still open to debate and it can be considered an “empty signifier” (De Cleen et al., 2018), the aim of this study is to explore different pragmatic and interactional purposes underlying the use of populis* in digital political discourse. The term can be used with a positive and negative value and can be itself the subject of controversy. The study of its use can hence shed light on the forms and functions of the qualification of individuals or events as "populist" and on the way politicians and lay citizens engage in online political communication (Breeze, 2020). We examine a corpus of tweets from Spanish political parties and politicians generated during 2019 in order to determine which political actors refer to the notion of populism in Twitter discourse. Then we generate a dataset of Twitter interactions involving at least one message from a Spanish politician and its reply or replies. In this dataset, we first analyze the linguistic, communicational and socio-political context of each message containing at least one token of populis* in order to (i) determine whether the use of populis* performs such social acts as self-expression and self-positioning (Roginsky & De Cock, 2015), or rather qualification of another person or event, associated with aggression, and (ii) assess the positive or negative value conveyed by the term. Second, we examine each interaction in order to determine (iii) whether reactions to a tweet with populis* comment upon the use of the term in that particular message, and (iv) whether these reactions support or reject the initial message (De Cock & Pizarro Pedraza, 2018). Finally, we investigate the link between the tweets containing populis* and offline events, focusing on whether the use and frequency of tweets with populis* can be linked to significant political events. We expect that populis* will be employed mainly for negative qualification. Furthermore, we expect controversies about the use of the term to appear in interactions involving, on the one hand, mainstream politicians who use the term to (dis)qualify other parties or social movements and, on the other hand, other political parties or citizens who contest this (dis)qualification.
Shchinova, Nadezda; De Cock, Barbara; Hambye, Philippe; Werner, Romane. The discursive construction of populism in the francophone Belgian media. CL 2021 (University of Limerick, Ireland - en ligne, 15/07/2021).
In this paper, we examine the construction of the concept of populism in the francophone Belgian media outlets in 2019, a year when the European, federal, and regional elections took place in Belgium. Using a corpus-assisted discourse studies approach, we analyse the uses and the meanings of the term populis* (i.e. populisme and its derivatives) in order to determine what actors and phenomena are labelled as populist and what are the evaluations of such qualification. To date, only a few studies have explored the uses and the meanings of populis* in media discourse (Hamo et al., 2019; Demata et al., 2020; Goyvaerts & De Cleen, 2020). It is relevant to investigate further the “non-scholarly use of the term” (Demata et al., 2020, p. 9) in order to understand the way in which the concept of populism is used in actual discursive practices and the consequences this might have (Brown & Mondon, 2020). In our study, data sources include articles, containing at least one token of populis*, collected from digital media sources (Le Soir, La DH, Metro, RTBF). The patterns of usage of populis* in our corpus are analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively employing corpus linguistics tools and methodology combined with discourse analysis analytical steps (Partington et al., 2013). We first analyse the frequency of occurrence of the term in order to observe its evolution of the use within the period of study and to identify the peaks of occurrence. In a second step, we analyse collocates and concordances of populis* as well as its semantic prosody (Sinclair, 1991). We report our key findings, including the recurrence of certain collocates that entail negative evaluation of populism.
¿Una coalición progresista o populista? Un análisis discursivo de la investidura del Segundo Gobierno Sánchez en España.
De Cock, Barbara
De Cock, Barbara. ¿Una coalición progresista o populista? Un análisis discursivo de la investidura del Segundo Gobierno Sánchez en España. VIII JORNADAS DE ESTUDIOS SICILIANOS HISPÁNICOS Y DEL MEDITERRÁNEO "PERSONAJES, DISCURSOS Y FRASES CÉLEBRES" ((en ligne), du 10/05/2021 au 12/05/2021).
La presente comunicación se centrará en el discurso de investidura de Pedro Sánchez (PSOE), actual presidente de gobierno español, y el debate en torno a este discurso, al iniciarse el Segundo Gobierno Sánchez. Este gobierno tiene la particularidad de ser el primer gobierno nacional de coalición en la democracia española moderna. Por ende, este discurso es histórico y que, al tratarse de un gobierno de coalición, el presidente de gobierno lidera por primera vez en la historia reciente un gobierno que incluye otros partidos que el suyo y tiene que (re)presentar no solo a su partido sino también a la coalición entera en su discurso de investidura. Esta comunicación propondrá un análisis discursivo de cómo tanto el candidato a la presidencia del gobierno como los diputados construyen esta coalición respectivamente en el discurso de la investidura y el debate que lo sigue. Por un lado, se mostrará cómo Pedro Sánchez construye la coalición como una coalición progresista, apoyándose tanto en el número de votos como en la larga historia del PSOE para subrayar la legitimidad de la coalición y de su candidatura a la presidencia del gobierno. Se analizará además cómo construye la imagen de una coalición unida, lo que requiere especial esfuerzo tras las elecciones anteriores en las cuales los mismos partidos no llegaron a formar una coalición. Por otro lado, se analizará cómo representantes de los demás partidos bien apoyan la coalición retomando la calificación de progresista bien la atacan. En el último caso, se tilda a menudo la coalición de populista y, en menor medida, de nacionalista, separatista o comunista. Mediante esta construcción discursiva, que se apoya a menudo en la coordinación de varios adjetivos calificativos, se intenta descalificar la coalición – y la decisión del PSOE de liderarla – centrándose más bien en otros partidos de la coalición que el PSOE. Este análisis mostrará entonces cómo los discursos en torno a la coalición en el gobierno nacional, una realidad nueva para la España contemporánea, procuran contribuir a representarla como legítima o, al contrario, intentan atacarla enfatizando su carácter múltiple y enfocándose en miembros específicos.
Shchinova, Nadezda. Pragmatic functions of populis* in online political discourse: a case study on the Twitter discourse of Spanish politicians. Linguists’ Day of the LSB (Linguistic Society of Belgium) (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 22/10/2021).
This paper discusses online political discourse on populism and examines pragmatic functions of the term populis* in a corpus of political tweets from Spanish politicians and political parties posted in 2019. More specifically, four forms are analyzed—populismo/populismos (‘populism’/‘populisms’, singular and plural nouns), populista/populistas (‘populist’/‘populists’, singular and plural nouns and adjectives)—in the Twitter accounts of five political parties across the political spectrum (UP, PSOE, Cs, PP, VOX), as well as in the Twitter accounts of their leaders. There are several academic definitions of populism; moreover, the term is being used in different ways and its meanings are constructed and negotiated in discourse. Previous studies have examined populism as an ideology (Mudde, 2004), as a discursive strategy (Charaudeau, 2011) and as a “communication phenomenon” (de Vreese et al., 2018). These studies have shown that the term can be employed in a variety of contexts, it can be used with a positive and negative value, and it can be applied to politicians of different political leanings. Moreover, few empirical studies have analyzed the actual uses of the term in discourse (e.g. Brown & Mondon, 2020; Goyvaerts & De Cleen, 2020). The study of its uses by politicians can hence shed light on the meanings of the term, as well as on the variety of uses and forms of populis* in actual discursive practices. Moreover, the analysis of the pragmatic functions of the term in political discourse on Twitter will add to the growing body of research on how politicians use this social media platform to engage in political communication with its audience (Breeze, 2020), and as a tool for political campaigns, as well as for self-expression, self-positioning, and political identity construction (Roginsky & De Cock, 2015; Coesemans & De Cock, 2017). In this study, a corpus of political tweets with at least one token of populis* posted on the Twitter accounts of Spanish politicians and political parties in 2019 is first analyzed quantitatively using corpus linguistics tools and methods in order to determine (i) the frequency of occurrence of populis* by each political party and (ii) the specific use of the term and its linguistic form. Furthermore, political tweets are analyzed qualitatively in order to identify the pragmatic functions of populis* related to a specific use of the term. The findings from a preliminary study of political tweets reveal different patterns of usage of populis* and a preference for a specific linguistic form by each political party. Regarding the pragmatic functions of populis*, politicians employed the term to promote their political party and to disqualify and criticize political opponents.