Talk on Visual Populism: Political Posters in France

Welcome to the guest talk by Morgane Belhadi at the HEPPsinki Seminar Series 17 April, 14:00-16:00 (HSSH, Vuorikatu 3). Going over decades of posters of French political parties, Morgane has studied developments and differences between French populist parties.

HEPPsters guest visitor Dr. Morgane Belhadi has been studying visual populism through political posters in France. Morgane works at the Université de Lorraine, Crem. She defended her thesis L'affiche politique en France : vers une esthétique populiste ? Une approche iconographique comparée" FN, RN, Front de gauche, France insoumise in December 2022 at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3), with our PI Emilia  Palonen as an opponent. We were happy to invite the French researcher in political communication to give a talk on her visit Finland.

Belhadi's research compares right and left populism studying their visual expression. What is communicated over time in France through the classic visual political communication method, the poster, and what has been the role of posters for these parties in capturing their essence or generating empty signifiers?

Fittingly also to the methodological challenges in the comparative study of political communities from the 1950s to the present, the session is held at the HSSH, seminar room 209, Vuorikatu 3 (enter through inner court yard, 2nd floor). The talk is held on Teams, please get in touch with the organisers, if you want to take part in the event online.

“Campaign Posters and Populism in France: Towards a New Aesthetic? An Affective Approach to the National Rally’s and France Unbowed’ Visual Narratives”

This research aims to examine visual political expression of populist parties in France which are presented by the media, scholars and/or themselves as such. Throughout a transdisciplinary insight, we intend to get a better understanding of their implementation within the political spectrum. Not only is the context since about the 1980s characterised by a crisis of electoral representation, but also by a mediatised, spectacularised, “celebritised” political environment. They frame the development of political communication and visual, ideological political parties’ modes of expression. In this light, political organisations tempted by populist tendencies strongly capitalise on media platforms in order to gain in visibility, legitimise and impose themselves on the public sphere, at the conquest of the electorate. This reflection leads us to wonder how existing populist forms unveil a specific aesthetic – especially via campaign posters – based on affects and polarised emotions, to reach their goals, and how this aesthetic fits the populist “struggle” and the ideology it purports. A semiological and iconological comparative study of printed and digital campaign posters and derived visual artefacts will help us measure the impact of populism and define its aesthetical traits as revealing new ways of visual, political representation. Key words: populism, campaign poster, representation, political communications, elections, aesthetics, Front National, Rassemblement National, Front de Gauche, la France Insoumise.

Morgane Belhadi is Doctor in Communication & Media Studies, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 University (France) and fellow teacher and researcher, University of Lorraine (France)

The talk is held on Teams, please get in touch with the organisers, if you want to take part in the event online.