Week 10 Response

This week, we learned about populism, politics, and how the introduction of media influenced Latin America. The reading this week was very interesting to me. It mainly focused on a more relatable era, with the use of radio and communication, which definitely appealed to me. It also covered a new political group which I had never heard. All of this tied together makes for an exciting period to cover for this course.

I really enjoyed learning about how the implementation of radio helped shape whole countries in Latin America, such as Mexico and Brazil. Broadcasting allowed working people to insert themselves politically, which forced some governments to moderate radio stations. Some of these stations were even attacked by different groups trying to get their message out. This really shocked me, as it is definitely not as much the case today. With the radio came a new force that brought together entire communities: sound. I found it interesting how many politicians were able to make their listeners feel like active members if the national community, simply through effective media. Music also played a big role in radio: popular culture began to rise. Music also connected social classes. It seems crazy to me how about one hundred years ago, radio was such an impactful tool. I feel that today, the radio is on the verge of dying out. It seems that music has overtaken news and politics for the newer generation. However, music is listened through phones and music applications, instead of an actual radio station. Anyways, I am just in awe about how big of a role radio-communication used to play compared to now.

I also learned about populist leaders who used broadcasting to their advantage. The word “populist” signifies a political view that cannot easily fit under the common “left vs right” context. These leaders include Vargas, Cárdenas, and last but not least Perón. Though the other leaders are definitely worth looking into, the most interesting for me was Juan Perón. Perón wanted to end the strong presence of the oligarchy in the Argentinian system, and create a new society. What surprised me was how he was imprisoned as he had too strong of a political influence, and then was later released and elected soon after. Perón created an economic boom during his term. His wife took advantage of the radio, and promoted peronism.

Ultimately, I learned a lot of new things this week. Who knew how much of an impact the radio truly had on society.

My question for the class is the following: what are other populist leaders in history that are not from Latin America? I’m interested in knowing other figures outside of our studies who share this political view, as I’ve never heard of the term ‘”populist” before taking this course.

3 thoughts on “Week 10 Response

  1. Frances Perry

    Hi thanks for your post! I agree that it was cool to hear about the impact that technology like the photograph and radio had on things like political movements and nationhood. I am not sure if he would count but perhaps Trump is a populist leader in that he relates to blue-collar workers through language and a certain “charisma” if you can call it that.

  2. Ruze Guvenc

    I completely agree that it kind of surprised me to realized just how influential radio was in fairly recent history, I really like how you compared it to the role we have for it now in our generation! I had also never heard the term “populist” before this week’s readings, so I’m not too sure about who would qualify. It seems to me though that a lot of authoritarian dictators may have campaigned and appeared to be Populist while they were trying to win the public favour initially. For instance, Hitler was clearly a fascist when we look at it using hindsight but a lot of his early campaigns were directed towards the masses and how he was fighting for their best interests. So I’m not too sure who actually qualifies as Populist, but it seems like a political stance that would win politicians the support of the masses, which is why I think a lot of politicians in history have used that stance to justify their intentions and political platform.

  3. Sabeeha Manji

    I had a similar blog post to what you had written and I resonate to many of your sentiments. It is interesting to see the impact technology had and how it was able to gain the votes of many. I’m not sure if this would count for a populist leader- but Putin is one example! He is charismatic , and is able to make people fear him- but only to a certain extent.


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