Populism, failures, and a sense of crisis
Şencan, Mert (2019) Populism, failures, and a sense of crisis. [Thesis]
Scholars of populism literature mostly view crisis as one of the key causal independent factors for the emergence of populism. Instead of viewing crisis as an available initiator element, this study takes into account its perceptual dimension, views crisis indeed as failures, and accepts that they can only become crisis when they are perceived as crisis. This study aims to focus on Benjamin Moffitt’s claim that the ability of populism to remain power depends on its perpetuation failures as crisis. As taking Ernesto Laclau’s conception of populism as a base, to check whether this claim may seem to be true for Turkish case, a mixed method exploratory research has been run by combining case studies of recent economic failure periods with content analysis of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s discourses. While focusing on periods of failures, Erdoğan’s discourses have been categorized according to their potential ability to rise crisis perception of the people of Turkey. Whether Erdoğan’s crisis emphasizing populist rhetoric is greater than his crisis denying populist rhetoric has been checked per each case, while changes in sense of crisis of the people and support of the electorate to AKP have been presented. In that way, not an explanatory but an exploratory study has been run to find out whether Erdoğan may fit the “populist” profile that Moffitt uses for Hugo Chávez. However, under conditions like small number of cases and constraints of discursive data, findings point out Erdoğan may not fit such “populist” profile.
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