Call for Papers: Politics, Populism, Culture – The Politics of Populist Culture

September 20–22, 2023, International Populism Research Network at Kiel University, in cooperation with Standing Group “Politics and Culture” and Working Group “Populism”, German Political Science Association (DVPW)

Populism is about “the People”, about their claims, their needs, their identity. It is about
constructing a people’s unity and political agency. Essentially, it is about transforming the many
in one political subject. In doing so, populism is not only a political articulation of discourse
(Laclau 2005), it involves aesthetic, symbolic, emotional, and social practices that have the
potential to profoundly affect culture (Bulli 2022) as well. Thus, striving to understand populism
also means striving to understand its relationship to culture in general and its effects on political
culture in particular. Populism produces a specific performative style (Moffitt 2016), it interferes
in political codes and in the ways that politicians stage their bodies (Diehl 2021), it shifts
communication towards disruption and scandal, thus destabilizing the normative expectations
to which political representatives are expected to conform. As such, populism is intimately tied
to mass media attention and presentation rules (Mazzoleni 2017). However, populism not only
affects political culture, it permeates it (Hall 1985; Flath et al. 2022). It draws on popular culture
in order to gain approval and create affective investment in people’s everyday lives (Grossberg
1992; Bargetz 2016).

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