In contemporary democracies, the image that political leaders project is of central importance to their electoral appeal, however, studies of image projection have mainly been based on textual messages, undermining often visual content such as photos, memes and postcards. This study explores populist leaders image projection through visuals on Facebook in a cross-national context, with the aim of verifying if politicians use images to promote their political action or if they instead implement more complex strategies of self-branding and personalisation. The analysis focuses on the election campaign period for the 2019 European elections and proposes a comparison between four leaders that joined the European Parliament’s Group of Identity and Democracy, namely Matteo Salvini for Italy, Heinz-Christian Strache for Austria, Marine Le Pen for France and Alice Weidel for Germany. According to our analysis, important differences emerge in the use that leaders make of the images disseminated on Facebook. Some of them, in fact, disseminate almost exclusively images that are strictly related to their electoral campaign, while others seek a true identification with their voters, following the pattern of intimization.

Storytelling through images: how leaders managed their visual communication on Facebook during the 2019 European election campaign

Mazzoni, Marco
;
Mincigrucci, Roberto
2022

Abstract

In contemporary democracies, the image that political leaders project is of central importance to their electoral appeal, however, studies of image projection have mainly been based on textual messages, undermining often visual content such as photos, memes and postcards. This study explores populist leaders image projection through visuals on Facebook in a cross-national context, with the aim of verifying if politicians use images to promote their political action or if they instead implement more complex strategies of self-branding and personalisation. The analysis focuses on the election campaign period for the 2019 European elections and proposes a comparison between four leaders that joined the European Parliament’s Group of Identity and Democracy, namely Matteo Salvini for Italy, Heinz-Christian Strache for Austria, Marine Le Pen for France and Alice Weidel for Germany. According to our analysis, important differences emerge in the use that leaders make of the images disseminated on Facebook. Some of them, in fact, disseminate almost exclusively images that are strictly related to their electoral campaign, while others seek a true identification with their voters, following the pattern of intimization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11391/1530853
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