Communicating Populism: Comparing Actor Perceptions, Media Coverage, and Effects on Citizens in Europe, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Communicating Populism

Comparing Actor Perceptions, Media Coverage, and Effects on Citizens in Europe, 1st Edition

Edited by Carsten Reinemann, James Stanyer, Toril Aalberg, Frank Esser, Claes H. de Vreese


280 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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The studies in this volume conceptualize populism as a type of political communication and investigate it comparatively, focusing on (a) politicians’ and journalists’ perceptions, (b) media coverage, and (c) effects on citizens.

This book presents findings from several large-scale internationally comparative empirical studies, funded by the European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST), focusing on communication and the media within the context of populism and populist political communication in Europe. The studies are based on comparative interview studies with journalists and politicians, a large-scale comparative content analysis, and a comparative cross-country experiment using nationally representative online-surveys over 15 countries. The book also includes advice for stakeholders like politicians, the media, and citizens about how to deal with the challenge of populist political communication.

This enlightening volume is ‘populist’ in the best sense and will be an essential text for any scholar in political science, communication science, media studies, sociology and philosophy with an interest in populism and political communication. It does not assume specialist knowledge and will remain accessible and engaging to students, practitioners and policymakers.

Chapter 1 and 11 of this book are freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license.


"This volume brings together leading scholars on populist political communication and truly demonstrates the relevance for populism as a research area within political communication research. Rarely does a volume present such rich and original comparative empirical evidence. This volume should be on the shelf of any scholar interested in populism and political communication, as it lays the foundation for future studies within this emerging research field." --Erik Knudsen, University of Bergen, Norway

"The book represents an important contribution to the discussion about populism, populist politics and communication of populist messages. It addresses crucial questions about how populist messages are perceived by politicians and journalists and what effect they might have on target audiences. It is a must-read for everyone interested in studying populism." --Otto Eibl, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

"If populism often (but not always) goes along with nationalism and the rejection of expertise, this is a decidedly non-populist book: based on the international collaboration of experts from all over Europe and on elaborate comparative empirical research. And it is ‘populist’ in the best sense: accessible and enlightening also to the uninitiated (while essential to everyone in the field), and with a bit of critical advice to journalistic and political elites." --Benjamin Krämer, LMU Munich, Germany

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Comprehending and investigating populist communication from a comparative perspective

Carsten Reinemann, James Stanyer, Toril Aalberg, Frank Esser, and Claes H.

de Vreese


Populism and Communicators

Chapter 2: Perceptions of Populism and the Media: A Qualitative Comparative Approach to Studying the Views of Journalists and Politicians

Susana Salgado and James Stanyer

Chapter 3: Journalists’ Perceptions of Populism and the Media: A Cross-National Study Based on Semi-Structured Interviews

James Stanyer, Susana Salgado, Giuliano Bobba, Gergö Hajzer, David N. Hopmann, Nicolas Hubé, Norbert Merkovity, Gökay Özerim, Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, Karen B. Sanders, Dusan Spasojevic, and Lenka Vochocova

Chapter 4: Politicians’ Perceptions of Populism and the Media: A Cross-National Study Based on Semi-Structured Interviews

Susana Salgado, James Stanyer, Gergő Hajzer, David N. Hopmann, Bente

Kalsnes, Guido Legnante, Artur Lipiński, Norbert Merkovity, Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, and Karen B. Sanders


Populism in the Media 

Chapter 5: Dimensions, Speakers, and Targets: Basic Patterns in European Media Reporting on Populism

Sina Blassnig, Patricia Rodi, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Kinga Adamczewska, Lilia Raycheva, Sven Engesser, and Frank Esser

Chapter 6: Journalistic Culture, Editorial Mission, and News Logic: Explaining the Factors Behind the Use of Populism in European Media

Peter Maurer, Nicolas Hubé, Václav Štětka, Cristina Cremonesi, Antonella Seddone, Signe Ringdal Bergan, James Stanyer, Marian Tomov, Naama Weiss, Sven Engesser, and Frank Esser

Chapter 7: Event-, Politics-, and Audience-Driven News: A Two-Year Comparison of Populism in European Media Coverage

Frank Esser, Agnieszka Stępińska, Ondrej Pekacek, Antonella Seddone,

Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, Dobrinka Peicheva, Ana Milojevic,

Sina Blassnig, and Sven Engesser


Populism and Citizens

Chapter 8: The Persuasiveness of Populist Communication: Conceptualizing the Effects and Political Consequences of Populist Communication from a Social Identity Perspective

Michael Hameleers, Carsten Reinemann, Desiree Schmuck, and Nayla Fawzi

Chapter 9: Investigating the Effects of Populist Communication. Design and Measurement of the Comparative Experimental Study

Michael Hameleers, Ioannis Andreadis, and Carsten Reinemann

Chapter 10: Cognitive Responses to Populist Communication: The Impact of Populist

Message Elements on Blame Attribution and Stereotyping

Nicoleta Corbu, Linda Bos, Christian Schemer, Anne Schulz, Jörg Matthes,

Claes H. de Vreese, Toril Aalberg, and Jane Suiter

Chapter 11: Attitudinal and Behavioral Responses to Populist Communication: The Impact of Populist Message Elements on Populist Attitudes and Voting Intentions

Ioannis Andreadis, Cristina Cremonesi, Evangelia Kartsounidou,

Dominika Kasprowicz, and Agnieszka Hess



Chapter 12: Adapting to the Different Shades of Populism. Key Findings and Implications for Media, Citizens, and Politics

Claes H. de Vreese, Carsten Reinemann, James Stanyer, Toril Aalberg, and Frank Esser

About the Editors

Carsten Reinemann is a professor of political communication and head of the Department of Media and Communication at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany. His research interests include populism, extremism, political journalism, and media effects.

James Stanyer is a professor of communication and media analysis, School of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, UK. His work has appeared in a wide range of academic journals, and he is the author of Intimate Politics (2013), Modern Political Communication (2007), and The Creation of Political News (2001).

Toril Aalberg is a professor and head of the department of sociology and political science at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. Her research interests include comparative politics, election campaigns, how media affects public opinion, the relationship between media and politics, and the role of stereotypes.

Frank Esser is a professor of international and comparative media research at the University of Zurich. His research focuses on cross-national studies of news journalism and political communication.

Claes H. de Vreese is a professor and chair of political communication at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on political journalism, populism, news media effects, and public opinion.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Media, Communication, and Politics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies