The Elites, The Establishment and The ‘People’ – Analyzing the “Micro-Politics” of Rightwing Populism

Wednesday 7 February 2018, 4.00PM5.00pm

Speaker(s): Em. Professor Ruth Wodak, FAcSS

In my lecture, I explore the new face of politics’ of right-wing populist parties and discuss adequate qualitative and quantitative methodologies to analyse the – ever more acceptable – exclusionary rhetoric (distinguishing between US- the people and ‘THEM- the establishment and the strangers) while focussing on the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the German Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), and the recent presidential and national election campaigns in Austria and Germany (2016, 2017).  The main question to be posed – why are such parties and their programmes successful – requires a careful context-dependent, multi-methodical, multimodal, and critical interdisciplinary analysis of the ‘micro-politics’ of the Far Right; i.e. how they actually produce and reproduce their ideologies and exclusionary politics in everyday politics, in the media, in campaigning, in posters, slogans and speeches. The dynamics of everyday performances frequently transcend careful analytic categorisations; boundaries between categories are blurred and flexible, open to change and ever new socio-economic developments.


Ruth Wodak is Emerita Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, UK, and affiliated to the University of Vienna. Besides various other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996 and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010. She is past President of the Societas Linguistica Europaea. 2011, she was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria.

She is member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and member of the Academia Europaea. 2008, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament (at University Örebrö).

She is member of the editorial board of a range of linguistic journals and co‐editor of the journals Discourse and Society, Critical Discourse Studies, and Language and Politics. She has held visiting professorships in University of Uppsala, Stanford University, University Minnesota, University of East Anglia, and Georgetown University. In the spring 2014, Ruth held the Davis Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC. In the spring 2016, Ruth was Distinguished Schuman Fellow at the Schuman Centre, EUI, Florence. 2017, she holds the Willi Brandt Chair at the University of Malmö, Sweden.

Her research interests focus on discourse studies; gender studies; language and/in politics; prejudice and discrimination; and on ethnographic methods of linguistic field work. Ruth has published 10 monographs, 27 co authored monographs, over 60 edited volumes and ca 400 peer reviewed journal papers and book chapters. Recent book publications include The Politics of Fear. What Right‐wing Populist Discourses Mean (Sage, 2015; translation into the German Politik mit der Angst. Zur Wirkung rechtspopulistischer Diskurse. Konturen, 2016); The discourse of politics in action: ‘Politics as Usual’ (Palgrave), revised edition (2011); Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty, P. Jones, 2011); The Discursive Construction of History. Remembering the German Wehrmacht’s War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, A. Pollak, 2008); The Politics of Exclusion. Debating Migration in Austria (with M. Krzyżanowski, 2009); The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with Barbara Johnstone and Paul Kerswill, 2010); Analyzing Fascist Discourse. Fascism in Talk and Text (with John Richardson, 2013), and Rightwing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (with Majid KhosraviNik and Brigitte Mral, 2013). See‐Wodak for more information on on‐going research projects and recent publications.



Location: Wentworth College, W/222

Admission: Eventbrite, FREE