New publication by Burak Özçetin: “The show of the people” against the cultural elites: Populism, media and popular culture in Turkey

European Journal of Cultural Studies


This article explores the relationship between populism, media and popular culture in Turkey by focusing on a phenomenal historical television series, Diriliş: Ertuğrul, and the discursive spaces opened by the show. The author relies on a symptomatic analysis of populism which conceptualizes the term as an anti-status quo discourse that simplifies the political space by symbolically dividing the society between ‘the people’ and its other, more specifically ‘the elites’. Diriliş is promoted by the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) elite and pro-government media as ‘the show of the people’, and as a cultural artifact belonging to the people. The show has been embraced as an alternative to morally degenerate cultural products of alienated Westernist/Kemalist cultural elites. The Justice and Development Party elites used every opportunity to incorporate the series into its populist political program. The article focuses on a specific crisis moment, ‘The Golden Butterfly Awards 2016’, and the ensuing debates to show how media discourse can resonate with the populist political discourse of a political party.

The article can be reached at:

Keywords Diriliş: Ertuğrulmediapopular culturepopulismTV drama

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