In spite of not even being officially registered three months before the European Parliament Elections of 2014, the Spanish upstart party Podemos captured almost 8 percent of the vote, while barely nine months after its formation, in October 2014, social surveys were citing the party as the leading force in national politics.


The overall purpose of this paper is to explore how Podemos’ aesthetic and its discursive strategies are being used to mobilize affect and create collective identities in the battle for political hegemony in Spain.


I argue in dialogue with Laclau [2005. On populist reason. London: Verso], Errejón and Mouffe [2016. Podemos: in the name of the people. London: Lawrence & Wishart] that: (a) the articulation of a new political grammar and discursive conflicts in which the popular majority can identify themselves as subjects in opposition to an adversary ‘Other’ plays a central role in constructing ‘the people’ as a new form of political culture, especially in times of crisis whereby; (b) the notion of populism transgresses categories such as ‘oversimplification’ and/or ‘demagogy’ and can also be regarded in terms of exhibiting sensitivity to popular demands and participatory democracy.


My findings show that welfare politics are not necessarily best communicated through traditional left-wing symbols, due to the left’s popular link with communism and political defeat; these having been repeatedly recounted by the media/culture industry throughout history. Indeed, many may share the idea of protecting a nation’s common social services without wanting to position themselves within a Marxist (leftist) framework. I point to the representative crisis as an affective crisis where there is a potential affective space to be filled. From here, I stress that resistance movements seem to need to learn the current media logic of conflict and recognition in order to mediate affect and produce identification.


The regime’s worst nightmare: the mobilization of citizen democracy. A study of Podemos’ (aesthetic) populism and the production of affect in political discourse.


Cultural Studies. Volume 31, 2017 - Issue 4.


Rodrigo Ferrada Stoehrel.


The Merkel-Rajoy kiss: © Podemos Berlin. (My reframe.)

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