Populism in Venezuela: When Discourse Derails Institutionalized Practice


Rodner V (2016) Populism in Venezuela: When Discourse Derails Institutionalized Practice. Society, 53 (6), pp. 629-633.

Discourse is important to society as it encapsulates who we are and how we think and, through habitualized practice, justifies the way we do things. Over time and through practice, socially constructed discourses become fact-like, thereby ensuring their continuity and relevancy for society. Once habitualized, practices may appear fixed and constant, unless of course, there is a change in discourse. Here I examine one such case where a shift in the overarching discourse has had a very palpable effect on society, namely Venezuelan society. Cases such as Venezuela’s reveals very vividly how a shift in discourse affects organizational practice and, naturally, society as a whole. My research explores how the late President Hugo Chávez used language and rhetoric to alter previously habitualized practices and redirect discourse towards ideals of Populism and Inclusionism. By focusing on the visual arts, I show how the introduction of a Populist discourse derailed the organizational practices of Venezuela’s museums and government funded art projects, and also how this new discourse painted a very different image of Venezuela for audiences both at home and abroad.

Institutionalism; political rhetoric; populism; inclusionism; macro-environment; Venezuela; visual arts;

Society: Volume 53, Issue 6

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online26/10/2016
Date accepted by journal26/10/2016