This chapter considers how contemporary populist rhetorics make use of, and are shaped by, the affordances of online digital communications platforms. Through an assessment of approaches to the study of populist ideology, I propose a concept of the populist rhetorical ethos which I further develop through in-depth analysis of a case study: a YouTube video advocating Brexit, published online by a prominent online political YouTuber. I argue that online platforms such as YouTube give rise to new genres of communication and new kinds of “rhetorical situation” to which political content must adapt, and that these often tend in a “populist” direction, inducing rhetorics centred on claims about moral and ethical character. Digital media platforms encourage political channels which stage intense dramas of dark forces and the brave rebels fighting against them, led by charismatic rhetoricians revealing secrets and telling truths about what is “really” going on and what “they” won’t tell you, promising salvation to their heroic followers.
|Title of host publication||Populist Rhetorics|
|Subtitle of host publication||Case Studies and a Minimalist Definition|
|Editors||Christian Kock, Lisa Villadsen|
|Number of pages||26|
|ISBN (Print)||978-3-030-87350-9, 978-3-030-87353-0|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2022|
|Name||Rhetoric, Politics and Society|