The Inclusionary Populist Communication Style on Facebook: The Case of Ada Colau in Barcelona
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Sintes-Olivella, M. (Marçal); Casero-Ripollés, A. (Andreu); Yeste-Piquer, E. (Elena). "The Inclusionary Populist Communication Style on Facebook: The Case of Ada Colau in Barcelona". Communication & Society. 33 (2), 2020, 193 - 208
Communication is one of the core elements of populism, especially in social media. Through such digital platforms, political leaders can communicate directly with citizens and build both their discourse and their political leadership. Although the literature has so far identified the existence of a populist political communication style, the expansion of populism and its connection with social media are extending and diversifying the concept, as well as adding new repertoires. In order to analyse this, we propose a study of the communication strategy of the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau who, with a background of citizen activism, became mayor of the city in 2015 thanks to a political organisation situated as left populist. The methodology is based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of the content of Colau’s Facebook profile. A total of 226 posts between 2015 and 2017 are analysed. The results make it possible to identify a new specific modality within the populist style of political communication, namely the inclusionary populist type. This focuses on issues related to defense of the rights of the weakest social groups and works within a framework of social justice and solidarity with others. Likewise, the study confirms how Facebook is configured as a preferred platform for the construction of political leadership.

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