The Foreign Policy Rhetoric of Populism

Chávez, Oil, and Anti-imperialism

Iñaki Sagarzazu, Cameron Thies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Populists are often identified based on their behavior, but the discursive element of their identities is also a frequently observed characteristic of this type of leader. We examine the determinants of populist foreign policy rhetoric in the case of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. We argue that a leftist populist leader such as Chávez will focus on anti-imperialist themes, and we consider two mechanisms that may indicate the conditions under which he will use them: diversion, which would typically be expected from a populist, and capacity. We use time-series analysis of rhetorical data scraped from the entire corpus of Aló Presidente—Chávez’s weekly television series—to test our hypotheses. The evidence supports the capacity mechanism, that Chávez is emboldened to use anti-imperialist rhetoric when the price of oil is high. His rhetoric, thus, matches his resources and ability to provide domestic and international goods to support his own identity as a protector and savior of the common people from domestic and global elites engaged in the imperialistic enterprise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 1 2018

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anti-imperialism
populism
foreign policy
rhetoric
leader
time series analysis
television
elite
determinants
ability
resources
evidence

Keywords

  • anti-imperialism
  • Chávez
  • foreign policy
  • oil
  • populism
  • rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

The Foreign Policy Rhetoric of Populism : Chávez, Oil, and Anti-imperialism. / Sagarzazu, Iñaki; Thies, Cameron.

In: Political Research Quarterly, 01.07.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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