„We will go through this TOGETHER!“ Notes on Vulnerability and Compulsive Resilience Vaudeville in Political COVID-19 Illness Narratives

Silvia Bonacchi, Ingo H. Warnke


In a first, tentative and explorative review, the paper discusses issues of resilience performance in socially addressed illness narratives in the context of political communication and self-representation. Using the examples of U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and their Covid-19 disorders, the paper explores forms of media self-representation as resilient politicians. In a critical reading, the gender-coded displays of vulnerability and masculine resilience are related to the performance of the supposedly normal. Taking Judith Butler as a reference point, the illness narratives of strength are interpreted as a defense against and fear of weakness and threat. In the conclusion, the initial observations are related to questions of new forms of authoritarianism, so-called soft authoritarianism. The article is intended as a sketch and as a preliminary consideration for a future systematic study of vulnerability, gender, and political communication. 


vulnerability; resilience; gender; Covid-19; soft authoritarianism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/lsmll.2021.45.2.53-64
Date of publication: 2021-07-06 12:55:12
Date of submission: 2021-05-26 10:03:06


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