The People's Champions? Populist Communication as a Contextually Dependent Political Strategy

I. De Bruycker*, M. Rooduijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


This article conceives of populist communication as a contextually dependent political strategy. We bridge actor- and communication-centered approaches by arguing that the context of issues conditions the extent to which parties employ populist communication. We draw from a content analysis of 2,085 news stories in eight news media outlets and Eurobarometer data connected to 41 EU policy issues and analyze statements from 85 political parties. Our findings show that populist parties are more prone to express populism on salient and polarized issues. Issues important to civil society groups, in contrast, make non-populist parties more inclined to express such communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1077699021998648
Pages (from-to)896-922
Number of pages27
JournalJournalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


  • populism
  • populist communication
  • EU politics
  • media and politics
  • civil society

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