Benjamin De Cleen

Benjamin De Cleen
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Department of Communication Sciences

About

40
Publications
24,578
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945
Citations
Citations since 2017
30 Research Items
859 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200

Publications

Publications (40)
Article
Full-text available
The close empirical connections between populism and nationalism have naturalised a rather misleading overlap between the concepts of populism and nationalism in academic and public debates. As a result, the relation between the two has not received much systematic attention. Drawing on the poststructuralist discourse theory originally formulated b...
Article
Full-text available
This article formulates precise questions and ‘rules of engagement’ designed to advance our understanding of the role populism can and should play in the present political conjuncture, with potentially significant implications for critical management and organization studies and beyond. Drawing on the work of Ernesto Laclau and others working withi...
Chapter
Open access introduction of Communication and Discourse Theory book: See here for download: http://oapen.org/search?identifier=1004823
Article
‘Populism’ has become ever more ubiquitous in political analysis, to the extent that ‘populism studies’ appears on course to establishing itself as a field of research in its own right. This article warns about the dangers of such a development. Taking a discourse theoretical approach as our starting point – but also critically engaging with this t...
Article
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Despite the ubiquity of work on the populism of the far right, explicit analysis of far-right populist strategizing and discourse about populism has been rare. This article explores such far-right reflections on populism through the publications of the German Institut für Staatspolitik, an organization at the heart of the intellectual Neue Rechte a...
Article
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The breaking of speech taboos by populist radical right (PRR) parties and the resulting talk scandals have received considerable attention, with provocative statements being seen as playing a central role in generating media attention and in shifting the boundaries of what is sayable. In Germany, breaches of taboos by the Alternative für Deutschlan...
Article
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This brief article discusses the need to conceptually distinguish populism from nationalism and reflects on recent advances in the study of the empirical connections between populism and nationalism.
Article
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Les liens empiriques étroits que partagent le populisme et le nationalisme ont rendu naturel un chevauchement plutôt trompeur des deux concepts dans les débats tant universitaires que publics. Ce faisant, la relation que les deux concepts entretiennent n’a pas reçu une attention systématique. S’inspirant de la perspective post-structuraliste de la...
Chapter
Full-text available
Populism in Western Europe has been especially associated with the radical right. Chapter 8 focuses on the role the concept of populism should play in our understanding of populist radical right (PRR) parties and on the role the signifier "populism" should play in assessing reactions to these parties by the press, other political actors, and academ...
Article
This article assesses the current state of play of the poststructuralist and post-Marxist discourse theory associated with Laclau and Mouffe and the ‘Essex school’, and identifies ways forward at the level of theory development, research practice and critique. The article starts by disentangling the different meanings of the notion of ‘discourse’ i...
Article
This article introduces the special issue of the Journal of Language and Politics on ‘Discourse Theory: Ways forward for theory development and research practice.’ In this introduction we discuss the aims and structure of this special issue focused on the development of the poststructuralist and post-Marxist discourse theory originally developed by...
Article
This article is the English translation of a text originally published by Ernesto Laclau in French in 1981 as part of the proceedings of the colloquium Materialités Discursives held in Nanterre on 24–26 April 1980. In this text, Ernesto Laclau reflects on the subject of hegemony as a discursively constructed phenomenon. Building on research on the...
Article
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Building on Rinaldi and Bekker’s scoping review of articles on the impact of populist radical right (PRR) politics on welfare and population health, this short article formulates three pointers towards a framework that might help structure future research into PRR, populist politics more generally, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other...
Article
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With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the public sphere in recent months and no aspect of social and political life left unaffected, it seems almost natural that this unprecedented public health crisis would soon be reflected on discussions around the other buzzword of our time: populism. This report aims at providing a concise yet rigorous global...
Article
Trade unions have been the object of sustained critique coming from across the political spectrum for several decades now. Based on a discourse theoretical analysis of articles in three Dutch-speaking Belgian newspapers, published in two periods of social protest in 2014 and 2016, this article identifies six strands of critique: (1) critiques that...
Article
In a recent article in this journal, Rogers Brubaker formulates a critique of the distinction we make in our work between populism and nationalism, and further develops his own, thicker conceptualization of populism, which integrates the nationalist dimension without however totally conflating populism and nationalism. In this article, we briefly r...
Chapter
Full-text available
This volume assembles a wide range of perspectives on populism and the media, bringing together various disciplinary and theoretical approaches, authors and examples from different continents and a wide range of topical issues. The chapters discuss the contexts of populist communication, communication by populist actors, different types of populist...
Article
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Criticizing mainstream media for their ‘lies’ or ‘fake news’ has become a common political practice on the radical right. Further empirical research is needed to better understand the intricacies of these attacks on media, in particular for the way they relate to criticism of the political system as a whole and to matters of political representatio...
Article
The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), launched by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, seeks to construct a transnational left political project to ‘democratise Europe’. Its construction of a European ‘people’ against an international elite raises questions about the potentials of populism beyond the nation-state. Building on a...
Book
This volume gathers the work of the Brussels Discourse Theory Group, a group of critical media and communication scholars that deploy discourse theory as a theoretical backbone and an analytical research perspective. The book seeks to show the value and applicability of discourse-theoretical analysis (DTA) within the field of media and communicatio...
Chapter
Full-text available
The introduction to the edited volume Communication and Discourse Theory aims to reflect on the interaction between discourse theory and the study of media and communication, as well as the Brussels Discourse Theory Group’s contribution to it. The chapter starts with a summary of the main tenets of Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory, and touches...
Article
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Las estrechas conexiones empíricas y las afinidades conceptuales entre el populismo y el nacionalismo han llevado a una superposición generalizada pero engañosa entre los conceptos de populismo y nacionalismo en los debates académicos, en el periodismo y en la retórica política. A pesar de la evidente importancia de las conexiones entre el nacional...
Article
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This article analyses how official citizen deliberation processes interpellate citizens, and argues that this act of invitation is a crucial element of the power dynamics of people's participation in such processes. The interpellation as citizen is both what offers people the opportunity to speak and a central aspect of how people's discourse is co...
Article
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In contrast to other core constituents of modern politics, conservatism has not been the object of much discursive-constructivist rethinking. Inspired by Laclau’s work and by Glynos and Howarth’s discourse-theoretical development of the notion of logics, this article sets out to identify the conservative political logic. Conservative politics, it a...
Article
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In their editorial, Speed and Mannion identify two main challenges "the rise of post-truth populism" poses for health policy: the populist threat to inclusive healthcare policies, and the populist threat to well-designed health policies that draw on professional expertise and research evidence. This short comment suggests some conceptual clarificat...
Chapter
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Like elsewhere in Europe, the increased number of asylum applications dominated Flemish media and political debate during the summer and autumn of 2015, and asylum has remained on the political agenda ever since. This chapter argues that the 'refugee crisis' was a moment marked by continuities and adaptations of existing discourses rather than by r...
Article
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This brief text is the editorial to the JOMEC Journal special issue on Expressive Culture and Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. It situates the special issue within the existing body of literature on the intersections between the radical right and expressive culture. The editorial further outlines the main contribution of the special issue:...
Article
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This article discusses the interplay between nationalism and populism in the Flemish (North-Belgian), Vlaams Bloc/Vlaams Belang’s (VB), populist radical right rhetoric about expressive culture. Building on a discourse theoretical analysis of three extensive case studies (concerts against the VB, the opposition between the VB and the Flemish theatre...
Article
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This article presents a discourse-theoretical analysis of the discursive struggle against the Flemish radical right from within Flemish nationalist civil society as it was fought out in debates about the Flemish National Songfest in the period 1991-1995. Using a discourse-theoretical redefinition of nationalism, the article develops the argument th...
Chapter
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Right-wing populist movements and related political parties are gaining ground in many EU member states. This unique, interdisciplinary book provides an overall picture of the dynamics and development of these parties across Europe and beyond. Combining theory with in-depth case studies, it offers a comparative analysis of the policies and rhetoric...
Article
Although they belong to different spheres, popular culture and populism can in some cases become intertwined and interlocked because they are both built around the antagonism between people and elite. Populist parties are often happy to associate themselves with popular culture as this allows them to strengthen their bond with the (signifier) peopl...
Article
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•On 1 October 2006 — one week before the municipal elections — the 0110 concerts ‘for tolerance, against racism, against extremism, against gratuitous violence’ were held in the Belgian cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and Charleroi. With these concerts the organizers wanted to make a statement against the extreme right Flemish-nationalist party...
Article
Full-text available
When Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe published an elaborate version of their discourse theory in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), they were met with fierce resistance by a unified front of traditional Marxists and anti-poststructuralists. The debates on post-Marxism dominated much of the book’s reception. This focus, combined with discours...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The goal of this project is to critically examine the abundant discourses about populism across academia, media and politics. What are the political-ideological dimensions of talk about populism? How does discourse in academia, media and politics relate to each other? What other factors than ideology play a role in explaining the ubiquity of discourses about populism: fashion, hype, opportunism? And what are the limitations of the academic focus on populism?
Project
Many populisms are also nationalist, but still there are clear benefits to conceptually disentangling populism from nationalism. This project is concerned with theoretically identifying the specificity of populism and nationalism. It also proposes a discursive framework for studying the empirical connections between populism and nationalism, and applies that to populisms on the right and the left.