Rethinking Populism in the Digital Age: Social Networks, Political Affects and Post-Truth Democracies.

GT 1.8 The Contemporary Public Sphere – Protest Movements and Populist Actors

Manuel Arias Maldonado (Universidad de Málaga)
Sesión 1
Día: miércoles,20 de septiembre de 2017
Hora: 18:00 a 20:00
Lugar: Aula 1.2.

Although populism is not a new phenomena, its rise in the aftermath of the financial crisis presents some novelties that are worth exploring. Mostly, they refer to the transformation of the public sphere in the digital era, which has changed how political actors and citizens relate to each other and hence the discursive and non-discursive practices chosen by the former. This includes a more direct communication between populist leaders and their base, the creation of channels that sideline those of the mainstream media, as well as the emergence of "post-truth" as a framework that gives new value to narratives as conveyors of political values that disrupt established social conventions. In order to understand these features -which, their novelty notwithstanding, do not change populism's "thin" ideological core- attention is due to the emotional dimension of populist practices. Strictly speaking, they are not new: new are the lens through which we observe them after the affective turn experienced by social sciences in the last decade. Yet social networks are in themselves rather affective technologies, fostering an emotionally charged communication and facilitating the means by which individuals can feel engaged with their "moral tribe" -isolating themselves from other discourses or narratives. This paper will reflect upon these transformations from the vantage point of political theory, emphasizing how the digitization of the public sphere has influenced the way in which populist actors across liberal democracies create their publics and address them, as well as the increasing relevance of affects in explanations about political life.

Palabras clave: Populismo, democracia, digitalización, emociones, esfera pública