Reflexive technopopulism: Podemos and the search for a new left-wing hegemony Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2019

issue

  • 1

volume

  • 18

international standard serial number (ISSN)

  • 1680-4333

abstract

  • Its reliance on social media and television to mobilise supporters and popularise the figure of its charismatic leader, political science lecturer Pablo Iglesias, is one of the main characteristic features of Podemos, a new, left-leaning populist party that has shaken the political establishment of Spain since its irruption as a decisive political force in the 2014 European elections. Podemos could actually be defined as a `transmedia party', as it combines the use of social media to reach young constituents with traditional TV talk show appearances to reach a wider, and also older, audience. This dualism (traditionalism and innovation) is also present in Podemos' own configuration as a blend of a social movement and a vertically ruled political party, with a simultaneous presence outside and inside representative structures like parliaments and local governments. Far from hiding from recurrent accusations of populism, Podemos takes pride in being considered a populist movement. Actually, their leaders see their party-cum-movement as a practical implementation of the theories of the Argentinean philosopher Ernesto Laclau: their left-leaning populist formation is the necessary vanguard of a new democratic majority that will replace the current neoliberal hegemony. This unusual reflexivity is studied through a critical discourse analysis of published interviews with Podemos' leaders.

keywords

  • podemos; populism; spain; social movements; social media; laclau