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Crisis of representation: Religion as an art of populist discourse
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CitationDoğan, T., Crisis of representation: Religion as an art of populist discourse, Lisbon 1st Winter School for Communication,15-19 January 2019, FCH Catholica University, Lisbon, Portugal.
Abstract: Populism is one of the main buzzwords of the 21st Century. From the far-right movements in Europe to the left-wing leaders in Latin America, and Islamists in the Middle East, populism is the common ground that brings politicians from different backgrounds and ideologies together. In particular financial crises and migration flow paved the way for populist leaders who are becoming a threat for democracy day by day. Since personalization of political leadership started increasing, mainstream politics became marginalized and lost credibility. One of the main arguments of populist leaders is the mobilization of people against the ‘elites’ (Hawkins, 2009). Although it is usually a long and complicated journey, after a while, as in the case of Turkey’s Erdogan, populist leaders replace the so-called ‘elites’, and developed a new approach which is nothing else than another version of ‘elitism’. By looking at the examples of Turkey and India, this paper will focus on ‘discourse’ of populism, and will argue how different form of religious populism has communalities. Comparing Turkish President Erdogan’s Islamist and India’s Prime Minister Modi’s Hindiusm approach will delineate how religion is an important part of their populist discourse and hence of their existence. Economic instabilities and corruption of both countries were the main reasons why people chose both leaders at first place. However their increasing dominance in politics, media and civil society in particular enabled to change the discourse. Certainly both countries have different dynamics and cultural codes, however, both embrace certain perspectives such as communicating with their people effectively. As a result, this research will analyze how populism changes ideological preferences and transforms the identity of a political movement, and becomes a danger for democracy.