chapter  1
The politics of authenticity in populist discourse
Rhetorical analysis of a parliamentary speech by Podemos
WithEnrique Arroyas Langa, Victoria Fernández Ilundain
Pages 16

The rise of new populisms takes place in a context of political crisis that must be understood in a broad sense and in a specific context: a time of transformations at all levels, of confusion over the new challenges of the turn of the century, and of the decline of representative democracy. Populism takes for granted the failure of the liberal model, which has plunged Western societies into an organic crisis; the entire institutional framework has collapsed. The foundations of the system are questioned, and a new order is created where an ethical-political community represented by a hegemonic people replaces the traditional structures of democracy. In challenging the foundations of the rational and plural debate of liberalism, the alternative of populist reason is inclined towards a policy connected with emotional discourse. Conflict returns authenticity to politics while the appeal to emotions gives symbolic content to populist demands in the postmodern context of the aestheticization of politics and institutional decline.