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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Just call me Dave: David Cameron's perilous populist status.

Smith, Angela (2020) Just call me Dave: David Cameron's perilous populist status. Journal of Language and Politics. ISSN 1569-2159

Item Type: Article


This paper seeks to show how male politicians can draw on performances of masculinity to appeal to voters. The paper is interested in former UK Prime Minister David Cameron as an example of how performances of masculinity interact with the opportunistic use of populist forms of rhetoric. It argues that while Cameron’s performances of populism are often situated in compatible policy initiatives such as the “big society” (Higgins, 2013; Alexandre-Collier, 2016), we can identify a more sustained use of masculine performance in producing what Moffitt (2016) describes as a “performance” of alignment with the people. Building on work carried out in relation to the mediatisation and personalisation of politics in the last 50 years, this paper shows how gendered performances of political leaders can be seen to mirror changes in society, whilst at the same time exploring how this is can be hazardous. Whilst the ‘new man’ who is a hands-on father might be seen to appeal to Western voters, this paper will show how David Cameron attempted to draw on this performance of masculinity in his first term as UK prime minister, but soon realised that there are limits to such appeal in age of austerity.

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Depositing User: Angela Smith


Item ID: 11183
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1569-2159
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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 13:51
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:16


Author: Angela Smith

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications


Culture > English Language and Literature

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