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Erin K. Jenne et al.: Mapping Populism and Nationalism in Leader Rhetoric Across North America and Europe

“Neither populism nor nationalism is on the rise across Europe and North America over the past twenty years; instead, the rise is concentrated in sub-regions and specific countries,” our Research Affiliate Erin K. Jenne, and co-authors Kirk A. Hawkins and Bruno Castanho Silva write in their article published in Studies in Comparative International Development.

The paper conceptualizes populism and nationalism as vertical and horizontal discursive frames of sovereignty, and investigates the prevalence of these frames in the speeches of chief executives (presidents and prime ministers) in Europe and North America to assess whether these discourses are on the rise at the highest levels of government. To do so, the authors compile an original database of leader speeches, measuring both discourses using a technique called holistic grading.

They also find that populism and nationalism are highly but imperfectly correlated in leaders’ speeches in the corpus as a whole, but that populism is far less common in the speeches of western leaders. They use a selection of speech vignettes to demonstrate that state leaders employ populism to counter political opponents, nationalism to counter hostile nations, and a combination to mobilize against conjoined threats from above and beyond the “people-nation.”

Read the full article here.

Cover: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
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