Digitale Geschichte und Historiographie

Make Italy great again. Trump’s echo and discursive manipulations in Salvini’s end of the year Facebook speech

The strategic use of the so-called new media has become more and more central to the way in which politicians, especially populist exponents, reach out to their audiences. Perhaps due to their immediate and widespread resonance, social media platforms have proven to be particularly well-suited to the way populist messages are shaped. Their impact seems to be highly effective even beyond the geographical and cultural borders of the audience the messages are originally conceived for. This article analyses the discursive strategies and use of metaphors in the end-of-the-year speech of the Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, which was broadcasted on Facebook on 31 December 2018. Using methods of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the investigation shows how Salvini uses the WAR, SPORT, FAMILY, and RELIGION metaphors as well as THE PROUD ITALIAN, THE ROBIN HOOD, and THE RESCUER scenarios to construct a Eurosceptic narrative in which his party has finally redeemed Italy from a disastrous past and liberated the nation from an oppressive Europe. The analysis will also reveal echoes of Trump’s slogan ‘Make America great again’ which Salvini uses to redefine Italy’s role in the European context as the continent’s rescuer.

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