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Vittorini, Simona (2022) 'Modi à la mode: Narendra Modi’s fashion and the performance of populist leadership.' Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 60 (3). pp. 276-297.

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Examining the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's performative approach to politics, this study offers an interpretation of populism as a style of governing. Central to this style is the visual appearance of the populist leader, heavily coded by their manner of dressing. The article offers an analysis of the ways in which the Indian Prime Minister uses fashion and clothes to articulate three fundamental features of populist leadership: the appeal and identification with the people, the anti-elitist discourse, and the presentation of the leader as saviour. I call these the performance of ordinariness, of difference and of extra-ordinariness. The article demonstrates how, by employing various polysemic sartorial choices, Modi’s modulated performance of populism has been critical to his electoral success and in broadening the appeal of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi, politics of dress, India, populism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 14662043
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 14:03

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