Politicians “Stay Home”
Left-Wing Populism and Performances of the Intimate Self on Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This paper analyses the intimate space of politicians at home during lockdown through their personal Instagram accounts, using both live stories (which I have been saving daily), the pictures and videos they post and the accompanying text. In order to do so, it will focus on two young female politicians who have become iconic for left-wing movements around the world. They are Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona (Spain), and Alessandria Ocasio-Cortez, representative for New York’s 14th congressional district (USA). As previous political outsiders who are deeply involved in activism and belong to what some will call a left-wing populist wave, AOC and Colau interact with their followers in “an authentic way”, often posting very intimate and apparently uncurated images of their daily life. The goal of the paper is to examine how they construct authenticity and connect with their constituencies during the COVID-19 lockdown through a qualitative visual rhetorical analysis.
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