Dissertation Abstracts

Our People are a Tight-knit Family under the Same Protective Roof : A Critical Study of Gendered Conceptual Metaphors at Work in Radical Right Populism

Author: Norocel, Ov Cristian , cristian.norocel@helsinki.fi
Department: Department of Political and Economic Studies
University: University of Helsinki, Finland
Supervisor: Dr. Johanna Kantola
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: radical right populism , gender and family , critical conceptual metaphor , Europe
Areas of Research: Political Sociology , Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations , Language and Society


Contemporary globalisation processes witness the articulation of an allegedly homogeneous totality that has coalesced in direct opposition to the very globalisation processes that have enabled it. This totality is commonly labelled 'our people' and is intended to reunify the citizens inhabiting the political social cultural space of a specific polity. Radical right populist parties - claiming to defend the political interests of the people - have gained increasing visibility and acceptance across Europe.

A particularly salient symbol that these parties have employed to portray their ideological stances is the depiction of the people as the tight-knit family, under the guardianship of a man/father/leader, sheltered together under their home's protective roof. However, there is a lack of gender sensitive research on radical right populist ideology. The present study consequently aims to uncover the means through which both concepts - that of family, and respectively people - are discursively gendered, in the sense that they reify gender-based distinctions, thereby naturalising the traditional hierarchical gender binary.

The dissertation focuses on two case studies: the Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare, PRM) and the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD). It examines how the leaders of radical right populist parties in Romania and in Sweden discursively explain their ideological conception of the hierarchical gender binary using conceptual structures, in particular the conceptual metaphor of THE NATION IS A FAMILY and linked metaphorical clusters - .

The present study represents an interdisciplinary dialogue between political science (particularly the study of radical right populism), communication studies (mainly the relationship between the radical right populist leader and contemporary media logic), conceptual metaphor theory (especially the critical analysis of conceptual metaphors), enriched with a genealogical perspective from a feminist vantage point.

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