International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion

International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on
Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion

A Trump supporter kneeling in Tucson, Arizona” by Johnnie Silvercloud (CC BY-NC 2.0).
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If we were to use one word to describe the recent trend in global politics, populism would no doubt be a strong candidate. From Donald Trump to Jair Bolsanaro and from Narendra Modi to Giorgia Meloni, right-wing populist movements have upended assumptions about contemporary politics and have seeded concerns about the future of liberal democracies across the globe.  

This Special Section on Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion, guest-edited by Johanna Sumiala, Stewart M. Hoover, and Corrina Laughlin, advances scholarly understanding of the present dynamics of global politics in the hybrid media environment. While emergent populist movements increasingly use symbols and tropes in their political communication, religion and “the religious” tend to be ignored or acknowledged only at the most superficial level in the present research in media and communication studies. 

The articles in this Special Section attempt to fill in this gap in scholarship and address populism, media, and religion in a variety of media, political, and cultural contexts ranging from Finland, Norway, Poland, Italy, Turkey to India, Brazil, and the United States. Expert authors from media and communication studies, political science, and religious studies address political and religious populism with a special focus on nationalist and right-wing movements. The authors apply conceptual frameworks such as “religious populism,” gender, nationalism, fundamentalism, “civilizationism,” Islamophobia, and victimhood to study religion and populism in diverse media contexts ranging from newspapers to Twitter. In the afterword, John L. Jackson, Jr. reminds media and communication scholars to keep race in mind as they analyze religious and populist phenomena in the present political moment. 

We invite you to read these articles that published in the International Journal of Communication on April 4, 2023. Please log into to read the papers of interest. We look forward to your feedback! 

Religious Populism? Rethinking Concepts and Consequences in a Hybrid Media Age—Introduction
Johanna Sumiala, Stewart M. Hoover, Corrina Laughlin

The World Congress of Families: Anti-Gender Christianity and Digital Far-Right Populism 
Giulia Evolvi

The Role of Religion in Construction of the People and the Others: A Study of Populist Discourse in the Polish Media
Agnieszka Stępińska  

“Brazil Above Everything. God Above Everyone.” Political-Religious Fundamentalist Expressions in Digital Media in Times of Ultra-Right Nationalism in Brazil
Magali do Nascimento Cunha

Islam as the Folk Devil: Hashtag Publics and the Fabrication of Civilizationism in a Post-Terror Populist Moment
Johanna Sumiala, Anu A. Harju, Emilia Palonen

Triggers and Tropes: The Affective Manufacturing of Online Islamophobia 
Mona Abdel-Fadil

Mediating Muslim Victimhood: An Analysis of Religion and Populism in International Communication 
Bilge Yesil

Populism, Religion, and the Media in India 
Pradip Ninan Thomas

The Ghosts in the Machine of Contemporary Scholarship on Media and Communication—Afterword
John L. Jackson, Jr.

Larry Gross, Editor 
Kady Bell-Garcia, Managing Editor
Chi Zhang, Managing Editor, Special Sections
Johanna Sumiala, Stewart M. Hoover, and Corrina Laughlin, Guest Editors

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