Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

EU Representations in Portuguese Media and Populism: Embodying Political Antipodes?

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Abstract:  Mass media mediate different publics, thus being crucial in constructing political reality. By selecting which topics are covered (agenda), which voices are heard, or how social and political issues/actors/dynamics are represented (priming and framing), mass media impacts how political conversations and processes unfold. Acknowledging the increasing mediatisation of politics, this article zooms into media texts of the Portuguese media during a complex political period that included national elections to explore how populism as a term, label, or topic was used and/or co-opted to create and negotiate political EU representations. Building on a historical perspective and using critical thematic analysis, this article argues that populism was used in the media and by the media as a discursive mechanism of political positionality and/or delegitimisation or criticism of political actors, agendas, or moves, thus making populism and the EU co-constitutively used as embodying political antipodes and making the EU work as a discursive buffer concerning populism in the country.

Keywords:  Covid-19; elections; European Union; media; mediatisation; populism; Portugal



© Maria Raquel Freire, Sofia José Santos, Moara Assis Crivelente, Luiza Almeida Bezerra. 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.