Abstract: The aim of this article is to explore the characteristic manifestations and discursive practices of populism in post-communist Romania and Hungary, with a special focus on the varying perceptions of cultural and political otherness. Two issues concerning the nature and manifestations of populism and nationalism have been particularly examined: (i) reconceptualisations of the notion of populism, and (ii) the relationship between two overlapping phenomena, i.e. nationalism and democratisation. The main findings show that in both countries, the populist discourse contains the glorification of history mystifying the heroic past, while displaying a strong bias towards nationalistic feelings that are intended to foster a division between “Us” and “Them”. Religion is built in the nationalistic populist discourse in both countries, where messianic notions are also present in various forms. Populist rhetoric operates in both Romania and Hungary with a strong, hyperbolic, language as a result of, as well as a generator of, strong divisions between “Us” and “Them”.
Keywords: populist / populism; nationalist / nationalism; the other / otherness; post-communist; populist rhetoric; Romania; Hungary.
Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 23, July 2016, rhetoric.bg/, journal.rhetoric.bg, ISSN 1314-4464