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Platforms for populism?: The affective issue crowd and its disconnections

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number6
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)984-1001
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date18/06/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Focused on the case of Turkey, this article interrogates the relation between populist politics and affective mediations by social media platforms, or, more precisely, the disjunctions between them that result in weaknesses and reconfigurations of populism. It explores the uncertain interplay between the capillary micropolitics of affect mediated by online platforms and the macropolitics of populism as a political project of managing the body politic. Studying two Twitter campaigns, I look at what I call issue crowds that are assembled by hashtags and propagate through memetic, connective logics, but that also feature homophilic disconnections. It is such disconnections rather than the (over)connectedness of the affective crowd, as the liberal critique of populism has it, that endanger democratic possibility. By analysing connectedness and disconnection, this article captures the political possibilities and dangers of affective communication and the transindividual crowd, meanwhile rethinking the liberal critique of populism.