The Noisy Counter-Revolution: Understanding the Cultural Conditions and Dynamics of Populist Politics in Europe in the Digital Age

Rensmann, L., 29-Dec-2017, In : Politics and Governance. 5, 4, p. 123-135 13 p., 3.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

The article argues for a cultural turn in the study of populist politics in Europe. Integrating insights from three fields—political sociology, political psychology, and media studies—a new, multi-disciplinary framework is proposed to theorize particular cultural conditions favorable to the electoral success of populist parties. Through this lens, the fourth wave of populism should be viewed as a “noisy”, anti-cosmopolitan counter-revolution in defense of traditional cultural identity. Reflective of a deep seated, value-based great divide in European democracies that largely trumps economic cleavages, populist parties first and foremost politically mobilize long lingering cultural discontent and successfully express a backlash against cultural change. While the populist counter-revolution is engendered by profoundly transformed communicative conditions in the age of social media, its emotional force can best be theorized with the political psychology of authoritarianism: as a new type of authoritarian cultural revolt.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)123-135
Number of pages13
JournalPolitics and Governance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29-Dec-2017


  • politics of transgression, social media, anti-cosmopolitanism, authoritarianism, cultural turn, noisy counter-revolution, postfactual politics;, populism, RADICAL-RIGHT-PARTIES, EXTREME-RIGHT, WESTERN-EUROPE, GLOBALIZATION, EMERGENCE, COUNTRIES, MOVEMENT, INTERNET, GERMANY, DIVIDE

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