Building a political image on Instagram: A study of the personal profile of Santiago Abascal (Vox) in 2018
Keywords: 
Political communication
Instagram
multimodality
visual communication
memes
Vox
Issue Date: 
2020
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
ISSN: 
2386-7876
Citation: 
Sampietro, A. (Agnese); Sánchez-Castillo, S. (Sebastián). "Building a political image on Instagram: A study of the personal profile of Santiago Abascal (Vox) in 2018". Communication & Society. 33 (1), 2020, 169 - 184
Abstract
Due to Instagram’s growing popularity in Spain, politicians have also begun to turn to this social network increasingly more. Accordingly, this paper analyses the visual and textual discourse of 259 posts published throughout 2018 on the personal Instagram profile of Santiago Abascal, the leader of the party Vox. Insofar as he is the Spanish politician with the highest number of followers on Instagram, the aim here is to analyse how he uses this social network in order to identify possible strategies that justify his growing number of followers. In the analysis, special attention was paid to aspects that might have contributed to the (self)presentation of Abascal and the promotion of his party, such as posting personal information and the direct involvement with his followers. The results show that consistent with the use to which Spanish politicians put Instagram, Abascal’s profile highlights his ‘political’ dimension and, specifically, his agenda. Personal content (such as references to leisure or sports) are used strategically to highlight certain features of his persona and ideology. The predominance of unedited images, the framing of the photos and appeals to his followers are some of the clues that reveal that, rather than providing access to his personal life, Abascal’s use of Instagram is the result of a carefully planned promotional strategy.

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