Volume 16, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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At the centre of populism is a problem of meaning. We could simply say it is a semiotic problem, but I would like to go further, and say that it’s a cognitive problem, one intrinsic to the human nervous system. It is a characteristic of our species that becomes highly active and significant in group action at certain social and historical conjunctures. The problem is the meaning of the word , which on most accounts is centrally important for making out what the phenomenon called “populism” is about. It is unhelpful to say the word is meaningless or vague, because clearly something is going on in the minds of its users and their hearers. That something is not simply about ; it is about activating a mental effect.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): affect; cognition; collocation; language; meaning; neuroscience; People; populism; word frequency
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