A corpus-assisted study of anger in populist political discourse
The rise of populism has turned researchers’ attention to the importance of affect in politics. This is a corpus-assisted study investigating lexis in the semantic domain of anger and violence in tweets by radical-right campaigner Nigel Farage in comparison with four other prominent British politicians. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses of discourse show that Farage cultivates a particular set of affective-discursive practices, which bring anger into the public sphere and offer a channel to redirect frustrations. Rather than expressing his own emotions, he presents anger as generalised throughout society, and then performs the role of defending ‘ordinary people’ who are the victims of the elites. This enables him to legitimise violent emotions and actions by appealing to the need for self-assertion and self-defence.
Keywords: populism, political discourse, emotion, anger, social media
Published online: 25 February 2020
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