Populist ideology and emotions are being increasingly adopted by political leaders as communicative tools to drive attention and gain consent. Populism appears to be intimately related to emotions due to its own emotional charge when appealing to the people or blaming ‘others’. Analysing the Facebook timelines of Italy's main political leaders during the 2018 general election campaign, we found that only negative emotions are associated to populist ideology although they are less frequently adopted by leaders. Emotional appeals, especially negative ones, emerged as a more successful strategy for triggering users’ interactions and reactions than populist ideology. Going negative appears to be the best strategy for gaining visibility on Facebook. Quite unexpectedly, love reactions are influenced by blaming the ‘dangerous others’, while angry reactions are not affected by the presence of populist references. Our results lead us to hypothesise that when emotions run high, populist ideology takes a slight step back.

Populism and emotions: Italian political leaders’ communicative strategies to engage Facebook users

Martella A.
First
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Populist ideology and emotions are being increasingly adopted by political leaders as communicative tools to drive attention and gain consent. Populism appears to be intimately related to emotions due to its own emotional charge when appealing to the people or blaming ‘others’. Analysing the Facebook timelines of Italy's main political leaders during the 2018 general election campaign, we found that only negative emotions are associated to populist ideology although they are less frequently adopted by leaders. Emotional appeals, especially negative ones, emerged as a more successful strategy for triggering users’ interactions and reactions than populist ideology. Going negative appears to be the best strategy for gaining visibility on Facebook. Quite unexpectedly, love reactions are influenced by blaming the ‘dangerous others’, while angry reactions are not affected by the presence of populist references. Our results lead us to hypothesise that when emotions run high, populist ideology takes a slight step back.
2022
35
1
65
85
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13511610.2021.1951681
emotions; engagement; Facebook; political leaders; populism
Martella A.; Bracciale R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1863500
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