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The trajectory of far-right populism–a discourse-analytical perspective

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Abstract

Although not exclusively, it is especially since 1989 and the Fall of the Iron Curtain that the far right has gained traction. Despite various context-dependent, socio-political and historical differences, the ideologies (and the accompanying discursive and material practices) share important ideological features, including the dichotomous view of society (a merger of anti-elitism with a nativist nationalistic anti-pluralism). Accordingly, protecting the fatherland (or heartland/homeland) implies belief in a common narrative of the past, where ‘we’ were either heroes or victims of evil. Moreover, conspiracies are a salient part of the discursive construction of fear which frequently draws on traditional anti-Semitic and anti-elitist tropes. Furthermore, such parties endorse traditional, conservative values and morals (family values, traditional gender roles) and support common sense simplistic explanations and solutions (anti-intellectualism). Certainly, not all far-right parties endorse all the above-mentioned positions. In this chapter, I will elaborate the history of such parties, focusing primarily on their mediatisation and communication strategies which have evolved over the past 30 years. These have managed to successfully dominate both traditional media (the press) and social media outlets. The discursive strategies of provocation, calculated ambivalence, de-tabooization and scandalization have paved the way for a ‘post-truth politics’, indeed for a ‘post-shame politics’.