Discursive Identity Construction in Populism : A Case Study on Fidesz and PiS

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis investigates discursive identity creation used in the discourses of the governing populist political parties of Hungary and Poland, Fidesz and PiS. Considering the important role construction of social identities play in populism, this article argues that we need to enhance our understanding of how the Self and the Other is described and used in populist discourse. The analytical framework draws on earlier literature from the broader field of populism as well as from the fields of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA), security studies and discourse analysis. In this thesis, the Self is conceptualised as Hungary and Poland, respectively, and the Other is conceptualised as the West. The findings show that Hungary and Poland are depicted as unique, strong and brave, and that “the people” share a common and distinctive culture. Meanwhile, the West is depicted as controlling and not to be trusted. The historical victimization of the nation in relation to the West is important, and used to legitimize the current relationship of the two. Moreover, both discourses use similar rhetoric strategies to defend these identities. However, the analysis also points to differences between the discourse used by PiS and the discourse used by Fidesz, where the latter is more extreme in its identity construction. Hungary is depicted as more unique and the identity of the West entail a more radical degree of Otherness carrying a more direct threat towards the existence of the Hungarian nation. In the discourse used by PiS, on the other hand, the West does pose a threat to the sovereignty of the Polish nation, but Poland simultaneously identifies with and wishes to integrate further with the West. Lastly, the findings show that the discursive identity construction of Hungary, Polandand the West is closely related to new legislation planned or implemented by the parties, and is hence not only a rhetoric device.

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