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Why populists do well on social media

Spiekermann, Kai ORCID: 0000-0003-4983-5589 (2020) Why populists do well on social media. Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric, 12 (2). 50 - 71. ISSN 1835-6842

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Identification Number: 10.21248/gjn.12.02.203


A link between populism and social media is often suspected. This paper spells out a set of possible mechanisms underpinning this link: that social media changes the communication structure of the public sphere, making it harder for citizens to obtain evidence that refutes populist assumptions. By developing a model of the public sphere, four core functions of the public sphere are identified: exposing citizens to diverse information, promoting equality of deliberative opportunity, creating deliberative transparency, and producing common knowledge. A well-working public sphere allows citizens to learn that there are genuine disagreements among citizens that are held in good faith. Social media makes it harder to gain this insight, opening the door for populist ideology.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Global Justice Network
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
T Technology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2020 12:57
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 16:37

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