Mediatized Populisms: InterAsian Lineages

eds. Paula Chakravartty and Srirupa Roy

Most of the essays in this Special Section of the International Journal of Communication were first presented at the Transregional Virtual Research Institute-organized workshop "Mediatized Populism across InterAsia," which convened at InterAsian Connections V: Seoul in 2016.   

In the aftermath of electoral victories by populist political leaders around the world, we see a new genre of scholarship on global mediatized populism, a Zeitgeist or world spirit of our times whose rise has been enabled by and through media, gaining considerable public traction. In contrast to both European and Latin American contexts which were the focus of earlier studies of media and populism, the mass-mediated spectacle of popular politics is a relatively new phenomenon across much of Asia and the Middle East. Across the InterAsian region, only since the last decade of the 20th century have government-monopolized propagandist architectures of television been replaced by commercial news channels. In the intervening years, media—both old and new—have become privileged domains of politics for the first time.

What difference does the relatively late arrival of mediatized politics across Asia make to the logic of populism?

Do media-enabled projects of people-making unfold differently in countries where states have more direct control over the media, versus those where commercial media enjoy free rein?

The essays in this Special Section disaggregate the idea of a singular media logic of populist politics and examine instead the institutional and political-economic dynamics of mediatization, and the variegated structures of media fields, in which contemporary forms of populist politics are embedded.

Relocating the study of populism does not simply fill a knowledge-gap by adding new regionally articulated examples of populisms. Instead, we approach the politics of populism from InterAsia in order to move beyond the presentist discussions on the “age of Trump.” By shifting focus away from the exceptional figure of the angry populist voter to the antecedents, afterlives, and grounds of the populist everyday, this collection of essays draws attention to the historical lineages and political-institutional contexts of mediatized politics as enabling conditions for the contemporary rise of populism.

Mediatized Populisms: InterAsian Lineages
eds. Paula Chakravartty and Srirupa Roy
October 23, 2017
On the web
"Mediatized Populisms: InterAsian Lineages," , eds. Paula Chakravartty and Srirupa Roy (October 23, 2017),, International Journal of Communication, Volume 11.