Taking account of the visual politics of populism

Journal article


Moffitt, Benjamin. (2022). Taking account of the visual politics of populism. Polity. 54(3), pp. 557-564. https://doi.org/10.1086/719829
AuthorsMoffitt, Benjamin
Abstract

Populism is arguably the defining political phenomenon of the first two decades of the twenty-first century, and it also is perhaps the defining academic publishing phenomenon in political science of the same period. An enormous amount of research has been produced on the topic in recent years, but strangely, one important aspect of populism has remained largely ignored: the visual and aesthetic aspects of populism. This is striking, not only as it is widely acknowledged we are living in a world characterized by a “pictorial turn”1 where images shape our political reality, but also because some of the most salient cases of populism in recent years have used the visual as a core aspect of their appeal: from Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” caps to UKIP’s incendiary anti-migrant billboards to Hugo Chávez’s iconic red beret. Given this context, I make the case for studying the visual politics of populism. I first articulate why images matter in populism, then delineate the benefits of taking into account the visual from the perspectives of the analytical dimensions of populism discussed in this symposium, and outline potential methodological approaches for tackling the visual in future work on populism.

Year2022
JournalPolity
Polity
Journal citation54 (3), pp. 557-564
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
ISSN0032-3497
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1086/719829
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85131377694
Page range557-564
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Jun 2023
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