Communicating Populism Online. Radical Right in 2015 Polish Parliamentary Elections

Political Parties
Social Media
Artur Lipinski
Adam Mickiewicz University
Artur Lipinski
Adam Mickiewicz University
Agnieszka Stępińska
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland

The recent surge of academic interest in populism emphasizes communicative aspects of the phenomenon and the role of new media for the diffusion of populist messages and subsequent mobilization of potential supporters.
2015 parliamentary elections in Poland provide particularly convenient entry point to study populist political communication. The stunning success of two radical right agents: Paweł Kukiz in parliamentary (8.81%) and presidential elections in 2015 (over 20% in the first round), and good electoral result of Janusz Korwin-Mikke’s party KORWiN in parliamentary elections 2015 (4.76%) can be partially ascribed to the skillful communication via social media. Lacking the financial resources and organizational infrastructure enjoyed by mainstream political opponents they still managed to garner huge support from the young voters due to their high activity on the Facebook (Korwin-Mikke) and Twitter (Kukiz).
The objective of the paper is to analyze comparatively the populist political communication of these politicians and determine the scope and type of populist message they promoted. First, we aim to examine quantitatively the populist content of messages they spread through social media. Secondly, quantitative analysis of the social media will be supplemented with the qualitative discourse analysis of Facebook posts in order to trace the discursive details of the populist constructions: idea of the people, anti-elitist themes, the critique of representative democracy and the construction of out-groups.
Additionally, as both politicians competed in the field densely populated by other right wing candidates, we shall scrutinize the mechanisms of right-wing identity construction and delegitimization strategies of political opponents.
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