Toward a Sociologically Enriched Understanding of Anti-Media Populism: The Case of Enough is Enough!

Torgeir Uberg Nærland


The antagonist relationship between the people and mainstream media constitutes an integral dimension of populism. Recently, this relationship has been articulated through the concept of “anti-media populism,” which foregrounds populists’ vision of the mutual integration between mainstream media and other elites. Mobilizing an emergent strand of sociologically oriented populism theory, this article premises that there is now a need to complement current understandings with inductive and qualitative research, attentive to how anti-elitist citizens ascribe meaning and value to mainstream media and to the specificity of the contexts in which anti-media populism manifests. Through interviews with members of a recent anti-elitist grassroots mobilization in Norway—the Enough is Enough! movement—this study explores how anti-elitist citizens articulate both overarching sociopolitical narratives and specific narratives of media-elite integration. The article demonstrates how a bottom-up, inductive, and context-sensitive approach serves to both nuance and contradict any singular understanding of anti-media populism.


populism, anti-media populism, audience research, political theory, ethnography, political sociology

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