Main Article Content
Right-wing populists are on the rise in Europe in the last decade. Their populism undermines one of the central pillars of democracy, the political discourse. Populism affects the quality of political debates in parliaments. With the emergence of the “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD) a populist party became relevant nationally for the first time in over sixty years. By applying the concept of Cognitive Complexity as an instrument to measure deliberative quality, we analyze to what extend the discourse quality in the German Bundestag in debates on immigration policies varied over the 18th legislative period. Cognitive Complexity is measured quantitatively by applying a linguistic approach based on the LIWC dictionary. Despite our initial expectations, there are no trends detectable and the rise of the populist AfD does not alter the discourse quality so far. Nonetheless, there exist major differences in discourse quality between the parties, most notably opposition parties have a lower discourse quality in their statements than governing parties. In addition, individual characteristics of the speaker such as gender, age or electoral type do not render any differences. However, there seem to be differences depending on the federal state in which the speaker’s electoral district lies.
Special Issue: Political Communication in Uncertain Times. Digital Technologies, Citizen Participation and Open Governance
The texts published in this journal are subject to the following terms: 1. The University of Navarra (Publications Service as its editorial) retains the property rights (copyright) of published works, and allows the use of this rights under the license indicated in point 2. © Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Navarra, 2015 2. The works are published in the online edition of the journal under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (legal text). You can copy, use, distribute, transmit and display publicly , providing that: i) the authorship and the original source of publication (journal, editorial and URL of the work) ii) it will not be used for commercial purposes; iii) the existence and specifications of this license must be mentioned . 3. Self-archive conditions. It is allowed, and authors are encouraged to disseminate electronically the post-print version (reviewed version and accepted for publication:author or publisher version) of the work prior to publication. This promotes the circulation, earlier dissemination and it can increase in its citation and scope between the academic community. RoMEO Colour: blue.