Right-Wing Populist Storytelling

New Journal Article by Centre Researchers on the Appeal of Right-Wing Populism

Katja Freistein, Frank Gadinger and Christine Unrau, three of our Senior Researchers at the Centre, recently published a new article under the title 'It Just Feels Right: Visuality and Emotion Norms in Right-Wing Populist Storytelling' in the journal International Political Sociology (with open access).

As part of their broader resarch project on the appeal of right-wing populism, they argue in this contribution that right-wing populists' claims extend to establishing alternative emotions that collectivize feelings and their expression, and are conveyed in visual narratives.The emotional range covered by these norms transcends emotions usually associated with right-wing populism such as fear or humiliation.

By employing seemingly inoffensive modes of presentation, emotional responses including indignation, compassion and schadenfreude, can be used as narrative bait for hitherto uninterested audiences. Following from that, emotion norms, such as exclusive forms of sympathy and humour, can be established. They illustrate their argument in three short case studies from Austria, France and Italy, which underline the everyday character of right-wing populist storytelling practices in social media communication. The conceptual and methodlogical insights around visuality, narrative and emotions support the interdisciplinary program of the Centre and show the potential risks of right-wing populists' claims to establish alternative emotion norms for our political life and the underlying established practices of liberal order and global cooperation.


Freistein Katja, Gadinger Frank, Unrau Christine, It Just Feels Right. Visuality and Emotion Norms in Right-Wing Populist Storytelling, International Political Sociology, Volume 16, Issue 4, December 2022, https://doi.org/10.1093/ips/olac017Open Source Symbol