Populist right-wing politics is moving centre-stage, with some parties reaching the very top of the electoral ladder: but do we know why, and why now? In this book Ruth Wodak traces the trajectories of such parties from the margins of the political landscape to its centre, to understand and explain how they are transforming from fringe voices to persuasive political actors who set the agenda and frame media debates. Laying bare the normalization of nationalistic, xenophobic, racist and antisemitic rhetoric, she builds a new framework for this ‘politics of fear’ that is entrenching new social divides of nation, gender and body. The result reveals the micro-politics of right-wing populism: how discourses, genres, images and texts are performed and manipulated in both formal and also everyday contexts with profound consequences. This book is a must-read for scholars and students of linguistics, media and politics wishing to understand these dynamics that are re-shaping our political space.
Populism and Politics: Transgressing Norms and Taboos
‘For fundamentalist elites all over the world, fear is an effective antidote against the secularizing effects of communicative freedom.’
Whenever I lecture about right-wing populism and right-wing populist rhetoric, people in the audience pose many questions, such as:
Are not all politicians populists?
Don’t other politicians sometimes construct scapegoats and use similar rhetorical tropes as do right-wing populist politicians?
Don’t the so-called right-wing populist politicians all draw on the same plethora of linguistic, pragmatic or rhetorical devices as already used by Cicero and other rhetoricians from antique times?
Such challenges raise ...