Populismus in Bulgarien? Ausdrucksformen des Politischen im gegenwärtigen bulgarischen Mediendiskurs

June 2012
Südost-Europa;2012, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p217
Academic Journal
A high degree of informality, deeply rooted in society and considered as normal by the vast majority of the people, has remained a part of post-socialist political culture in Bulgaria. The media continuously presents the powerful functional elite as a non-elite. The image of politicians as grassroots "men/women of the people" has been persistently enforced and has become a "natural" part of social and political life. The social background of these elites, as presented by the media, does not differ from that of any "ordinary person", and both their displayed tastes and manner of speech are shaped accordingly. As it seems, it is precisely the absence of an elitist language and culture in the public sphere that ensures politicians' elite positions. They happily expose intimate details of their private lives to the media and appear to embrace nicknames, family roles and personal idiosyncrasies in the name of being part of public life. The mass media prove to be a reliable source for analyzing dominant conceptions of what politicians look like, what politics should be, and how it is supposed to work. Through and analysis of selected media texts from current high-circulation newspapers as well as from popular non-fiction books dealing with politics or politicians, the author concludes that oppositional and ruling politicians alike are represented consistently in the same manner. Given these developments since the political changes of 1989, the article discusses whether it makes sense to make use of the western conception of "populism" to describe the behaviours and strategies of Bulgarian politicians.


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