A Typology of Populism: Toward a Revised Theoretical Framework on the Sender Side and Receiver Side of Communication

Michael Hameleers


The ideational core of populism, constructing the binary opposition between the “good” people and “culprit” others, is not expressed univocally throughout the globe. Not surprisingly, scholars from different disciplines have not yet reached consensus on how to conceptualize populism on the sender side and receiver side of communication. This article aims for conceptual clarification by introducing a typology of populism on both sides of communication, also extrapolated to online contexts. In these online settings, populist communication can be challenged, reinforced, or negotiated by citizens. Populist messages may thus activate and prime populist interpretation frames. By introducing a revised theoretical framework of populist communication that incorporates the dynamics between the media and society, this article provides conceptual tools for future research on the content, causes, and consequences of populist communication. Practical recommendations on how to conduct such studies are discussed.


media populism, populist communication, populist attitudes, social network sites, social identity

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