Populism as a mediatized communicative relation: The birth of algorithmic populism

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In this paper, I want to introduce a(n digital) ethnographic approach to populism that understands populism as a (digitally) mediatized chronotopic communicative and discursive relation. Populism, I argue, is not only constructed in a (mediatized) communicative relation between journalists, politicians and academics, but also in the relation to citizens, activists and computational agency. Attention to all these actors, and the media they use, is of crucial importance if we want to understand populism. Digital media are not just new media that populists use, their algorithms and affordances reshape their populism. In times of digitalization, we cannot understand populism by only looking at ‘the input’, the frame that actors prepare for uptake, it is about the uptake as well. More concretely, I will argue that digital media have given birth to a new form of populism: algorithmic populism. Understanding and focusing on populism as a ‘communicative relation’ between all these human and non-human actors allows use to analyze ‘populism’ more precisely.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameTilburg Papers in Culture Studies


  • politics
  • algorithmic populism
  • algorithmic activism
  • populism
  • discourse
  • discourse analysis
  • sociolinguistics
  • communicative relation


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