The Media and Neo-Populism: A Contemporary Comparative Analysis

By Gianpietro Mazzoleni; Julianne Stewart et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Ten
Conclusion: Power to the
Media Managers

Julianne Stewart, Gianpietro Mazzoleni,
and Bruce Horsfield

The case analyses carried out in the previous chapters provide copious and complex evidence that seems to validate our assumption of the crucial role that "media factors" play in the rise and development of neopopulist movements and parties in a number of important political environments. Our aim was to identify and cross-analyze the various media-driven and media-centered contributions to the rise and development of neo-populism. The contributors to our study were offered a theoretical framework—elaborated in chapter 1—drawing on the most recent and most significant achievements of mass communication and political communication scholarship.

As in all comparative research, the main problem was then to recognize commonalities without sacrificing the specificities of each case. In this respect, we found that the "maverick" cases of India and Latin America, instead of challenging the patterns we have been observing in the "old democracies," provided fascinating evidence of dynamics that might be seen as scenarios of possible extreme consequences of the interplay between the media and neo-populist phenomena in the other countries as well.

The overall picture stemming from our study is one of populisms that, beyond their several idiosyncratic features, have in common a reactionary and even subversive outlook that places them within the stream of right-wing radicalism. While populism is a "slippery," "chameleonic" (Taggart 2000), and "vague" (Canovan 1999) concept, and one that should be identified and interpreted according to the social-politicalcultural context(s) in which it manifests itself, the populism represented by the neo-populist movements investigated in this book embodies a

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