Big Bad Social Media: Distributed Affects and Popular Politics – Bishnupriya Ghosh

Those with access to digital media are often aware of their access as a privilege not available to all; the drive to quantify is a willed use of media capacities to highlight the part that does not have access. Because affiliation bonds with the surplus and recognizes it as such, recognizes it cannot be fully counted, the relationship is necessarily beyond the personal: the part of the part will always remain unknowable, anonymous. Whether or not social media users disclose their identity what they disclose about the part that they seek to make visible is that it is fundamentally different.

From Populist Media to Media Populism – Giuseppe Fidotta, Joshua Neves and Joaquin Serpe

If our approach in this framing essay emphasizes the import of media infrastructures and techno-human processes for understanding populism, and political life more broadly—what we frame as a shift from populist media to media populism—this is not to diminish the critical need for accounts of political subjectivity, aesthetics, discourse, and the like. But it is to observe that such processes have been basically transformed by our computational habitus.

Populist Realisms and Counterfeit Aesthetics – Jason Pine

The willingness of publics to believe in obvious fakes is an enduring phenomenon because, for them, shoddy performances are an expression not of fakery, but of realness, a realness that makes room for anyone to become anything they want. This possibilism, ripening in states of precarity, supersedes political ideology, is a crucial source of the cynical political power that nurtures it.

Unsettling News: Newstrack and the Video Event – Ishita Tiwary

My interest here is to examine the role of the machine aka the camera and how it represented these events and the effect it has on the bodies of those being filmed and those watching at home. Drawing on Gaines’s arguments, I focus on how the camera operated in the news magazine’s approach to narrative and the act of witnessing. It is the camera that produces the partisan effect.

Analogy in Ruins: Populism, Transgression, and the Zombie – David Bering-Porter

This article focuses on the role of analogy, transgression, and contagion in the workings of the zombie as a cultural form. This study of the zombie-as-analogy also opens a way towards a different understanding of media populism, as more than a mirror of political populism, but as a problem unique to the representation, reproduction, and proliferation of sameness in mass media and culture.

Editorial Introduction to Media Populism – Giuseppe Fidotta, Joshua Neves & Joaquin Serpe

Prevailing approaches to populist media in political theory remain narrowly focused on what populists say and do in the media, as if the media was merely a container of information or an ideology to be debunked. In contrast, this special issue aims to bring media studies into conversation with debates in social and political theory, among other fields, and to explore the centrality of media, meant in a broader sense than just neutral channels for direct and unmediated exchange between demagogues and receptive audiences, for apprehending populism.