'Stereotyped images and role dissonance in the foreign policy of right-wing populist leaders: Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump

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Abstract

Populist leaders unfold anti-elite rhetoric to sustain the ‘in-group’ morale of the ‘people’ they represent. Populist projects contain an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ dimension constituted by the stereotyped images that serve to inform the role-selection process in foreign policy. When images shaping roles on the international stage are used against the ‘out-group’, they become stereotypes of other actors. Therefore, this paper explores how anti-pluralist populist leaders such as Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump use stereotyped images, and how these images – which speak to intention, affective tags and the evaluation of options – shape the foreign policy role behaviour of the states in question. The paper develops a framework at the interplay of images and roles to analyse how these two aspects are used by the leader in an oversimplified manner to delineate boundaries between self and other, and thus to identify the membership base of the populist project versus those who are seen as a threat to their populist foreign policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Early online date12 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2022

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