In recent years, the scientific debate on populism has experienced a new momentum: on the one hand, the emergence of new populisms even in Western democracies and on the other hand, disagreement among scholars on the definition of populism. In this context, new trends have emerged—such as those concerning the link between populism and technology—along with the need to revise the traditional study paradigms, which are often difficult to operationalise. The transformation of the political sphere appears to be strongly interconnected with the digital media landscape. If the new forms of communication are the cause or the effect of processes, such as the personalisation of leadership, the verticalisation of political organisations, the presidentialisation of political parties, or the social de-legitimisation of the old “intermediate bodies”, these forms should be the subject of ongoing research. At the same time, a very simplistic storyline tries to overlap the rise of neo-populist parties with their use of communication technologies. A quality that is common to the many different populisms is an appeal to the use of direct democracy as a tool to empower citizens. Populism itself is sometimes portrayed as almost synonymous with direct democracy. At the same time, direct democracy is used by populists as a critique of the lack of participation in representative democracy and the need to make it more participatory. In this perspective, technology becomes a tool (and a storyline) to facilitate the use of direct democracy and the rise of a new form of “hyper-representation”. At the same time, concepts such as efficiency, privatisation, short-termism, newism, and meritocracy are keywords successfully used by populist leaders, technocracy élites and neo-liberal political leaders. In other words, we can highlight a strange meeting between technological storytelling about direct democracy and technocracy myths. Even among the new populist parties, the technopopulists appear to represent an important category, whose peculiarities can easily be put into evidence using some empirical tools (such as content analysis). The aim of this article is to investigate the relationships between technocracy, direct democracy’s storytelling and hyper-representation as a distinctive characteristic of neo-populisms.

Populism between direct democracy and the technological myth / De Blasio, Emiliana; Sorice, Michele. - In: PALGRAVE COMMUNICATIONS. - ISSN 2055-1045. - 4:15(2018), pp. 1-11. [10.1057/s41599-018-0067-y]

Populism between direct democracy and the technological myth

Emiliana De Blasio
;
Michele Sorice
2018

Abstract

In recent years, the scientific debate on populism has experienced a new momentum: on the one hand, the emergence of new populisms even in Western democracies and on the other hand, disagreement among scholars on the definition of populism. In this context, new trends have emerged—such as those concerning the link between populism and technology—along with the need to revise the traditional study paradigms, which are often difficult to operationalise. The transformation of the political sphere appears to be strongly interconnected with the digital media landscape. If the new forms of communication are the cause or the effect of processes, such as the personalisation of leadership, the verticalisation of political organisations, the presidentialisation of political parties, or the social de-legitimisation of the old “intermediate bodies”, these forms should be the subject of ongoing research. At the same time, a very simplistic storyline tries to overlap the rise of neo-populist parties with their use of communication technologies. A quality that is common to the many different populisms is an appeal to the use of direct democracy as a tool to empower citizens. Populism itself is sometimes portrayed as almost synonymous with direct democracy. At the same time, direct democracy is used by populists as a critique of the lack of participation in representative democracy and the need to make it more participatory. In this perspective, technology becomes a tool (and a storyline) to facilitate the use of direct democracy and the rise of a new form of “hyper-representation”. At the same time, concepts such as efficiency, privatisation, short-termism, newism, and meritocracy are keywords successfully used by populist leaders, technocracy élites and neo-liberal political leaders. In other words, we can highlight a strange meeting between technological storytelling about direct democracy and technocracy myths. Even among the new populist parties, the technopopulists appear to represent an important category, whose peculiarities can easily be put into evidence using some empirical tools (such as content analysis). The aim of this article is to investigate the relationships between technocracy, direct democracy’s storytelling and hyper-representation as a distinctive characteristic of neo-populisms.
Populism, Technopopulism, Technocracy, Direct Democracy, Democracy, Communication, Political Parties
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11385/177710
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