Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Dropkick Murphys vs. Scott Walker: Unpacking Populist Ideological Discourse in Digital Space

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Abstract:  On January 24, 2015, the folk punk band Dropkick Murphys penned a tweet to former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that read “please stop using our music in any way…We literally hate you!!!” Within hours, thousands of users interacted with the post and a contentious mediated discussion materialized. By exporting the full conversation using the program BrandWatch and applying Sonja Foss’s ideological criticism approach, I found several recurrent ideological constructions reappear throughout the data. Through comments considering the band’s political activism as alienating, re-envisioning punk rock as right-wing, and framing Dropkick Murphys as inherently un-American and undesirable through Twitter comments, Walker supporters rhetorically dismiss the band and their message. These constructions show how new media audiences discursively construct ideologies to delegitimize opposition along the lines of political affiliation and illustrate the communicative mechanism of populism on a micro-level.

Keywords:  discourse; Dropkick Murphys; ideology; music; new media; populism; Scott Walker; Twitter



© Connor D. Wilcox. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.