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Kızılırmak D.

in: New Media and Populism, Ahmet Sinav, Editor, Eğitim Kitabevi, Ankara, pp.105-122, 2023

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Other Book
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Publisher: Eğitim Kitabevi
  • City: Ankara
  • Page Numbers: pp.105-122
  • Editors: Ahmet Sinav, Editor
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: Yes


The 21st century is witnessing the rebirth of populism as a global phenomenon. Populism, which Moffit (2020) labelled as a fringe phenomenon that seems to belong to another era or a specific area of the world, has now become a mainstay of contemporary politics. To explain this situation, some thinkers use concepts such as “populist wave”, “populist resurgence”, “new populism”. In addition, the number of academic studies on populism has increased exponentially in recent years. Moreover, this new interest in populism is not limited to academic studies. Politicians and journalists have also started to express their opinions on this concept in recent years, portraying it as a great danger for democracy. Nevertheless, the debate on the definition, essence and effects of this concept is still not over. Even today, populism is recognised as a vague concept with definitions produced under different academic disciplines. Thinkers researching on populism mention that it is extremely difficult to define it as a concept. When we look at recent studies, it is possible to come across different definitions of populism as a kind of political reason/logic, political discourse, political communication method, political strategy or a mode of identification. Mudde (2004) states that populism, which he tries to express with the title of “the definition of the indefinable”, is handled with two different interpretations in the academic literature that evoke extremely negative meanings. According to him, the first interpretation in the endeavour to define populism defends the view that populists agitate the public by adopting an emotional level of rhetoric. According to this interpretation, populists are angry and their voters are angry and full of resentment. Hence, populism is synonymous with demagoguery and populists with demagogues. The second interpretation understands populism as a tool used by politicians to “buy” the support/votes of voters. Kazin (2016), on the other hand, states that the debate on whether the concept of populism is a doctrine, a style, a political strategy, a marketing tactic or a combination of all of these is still ongoing. Especially since the 1980s, many books, articles and columns have been written about populist parties since they have become decisive in political life. The fact that populist political parties have been decisive in the formation and execution of political practices by influencing the public opinion and the government in the political life of countries and their rise to power through elections has led to an increase in the number of studies on them. In these studies, there are also debates on whether populism should be considered as a historical phenomenon or as a concept. While historians generally accept populism as a historical phenomenon, political scientists, sociologists and critical theorists tend to treat it as a concept. This book aims to address both the historical roots and the conceptual structure of populism, to address different aspects of the ongoing deep conceptual debates and to contribute to the literature through original studies. While the classical definition of populism that focuses on the distinction between “the people” and “the elites” continues, its reliance on new media technologies, its relationship with changing modes of political representation and identification, and its increasing ubiquity need to be explained. Therefore, it is necessary to re-discuss populism in the context of the transforming global media. In this new media environment, it is important to abandon the view that populism exists as a direct or unmediated phenomenon between the leader and the people, and to explore and demonstrate the intensely mediated nature of populism. This book aims to present a different perspective on populist discourse and action, thanks to the ubiquity, easy accessibility, increasing speed and scope of communication technologies. The book includes original research that focuses on this basic understanding and evaluates the concept of populism from different perspectives in the context of new communication technologies. This study has emerged with the joint efforts of Eren EFE, Özlem ÇETİN ÖZTÜRK, Dilek KIZILIRMAK, Taylan MARAL, Abdulkadir BÜYÜKBİNGÖL from İstanbul Gelişim University, Department of New Media and Communication; Ali DAĞLAR from Faculty of Fine Arts and Eren EKİN ERCAN from Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Faculty of Communication, Department of Journalism. For this reason, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the chapter authors who contributed to the book. Hoping to be useful to the reader... November, 2023 İstanbul