Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion| The World Congress of Families: Anti-Gender Christianity and Digital Far-Right Populism
Anti-gender groups defend heteronormative and traditionalist views of family values and include both conservative Christian and far-right political actors. Moreover, these groups often rely on digital communication. Through a qualitative analysis of videos, tweets, and press releases produced during the World Congress of Families (WCF), an anti-gender event held in 2019 in the Italian city of Verona, this article discusses anti-gender movements’ digital communication as an example of online populism. The analysis suggests that the WCF used the Internet to enhance affective communications and connections among different religious and political actors. In particular, speakers at the event emotionally articulated antagonism between pro-family actors and those allegedly against family values, enacting the populist trope of “the people” against “the elites,” and also embedding anti-feminist, racist, and anti-migration discourses. The article shows how a focus on Christianity and digital hypermediated communication can better help to understand some characteristics of contemporary far-right populist politics.