Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Populist movements have been on the rise across Europe and the Americas. In France, the far right-wing party, Le Front National, has experienced recent growth in electoral success. Scholars of the Front National have in part attributed the party’s success to its increased use of populist rhetoric. This thesis examines the populist rhetoric used between the Front National’s past president Jean-Marie Le Pen and current president Marine Le Pen in order to test these scholarly claims. Based on their campaign speeches for the 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017 French presidential elections, I conducted a quantitative dictionary-based analysis on the difference in use of populist, xenophobic, and economic rhetoric between Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen. My results show that there has been only a relatively small increase in the use of populist rhetoric between the two leaders. Consequently, I argue that the perceived increased use of populist rhetoric in the Front National has more to do with the saliency of populism than numerical fact.
McGregor, Muriel C., "The Rise of Populist Rhetoric and the Mainstreaming of a Party? Testing the Rhetorical Shifts Between Front National’s Presidents Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen" (2019). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7538.
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