Populism in Latin America: a double interview

POP interviewed two scholars – Saskia Ruth and Bruno Castanho Silva – in order to understand the causes and consequences of populism, especially in Latin America. We discussed also about negative cases (why populism does not always show up when it is supposed to?), use of violence, populist paradoxes, and direct democratic tools.

From this dialogue emerged a (quite long and dense) interview full of relevant examples, concepts and arguments. It therefore constitutes a clear and comprehensive point of access to a broad variety of topics about populism in Latin America.

Enjoy the  interview.

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Interview #15 – Going Negative: Causes and Consequences of Attack Politics

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Alessandro Nai

In this interview POP discusses with Alessandro Nai about the causes and consequences of negative campaigning as well as the links with populism and attack politics.

Alessandro Nai is Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney, and Assistant Professor of Political Communication and Journalism at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR, University of Amsterdam) from August 2017 onwards. His personal research agenda is on electoral behavior, political psychology, direct democracy, and campaigning effects. His work appeared in peer-review journals such as Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies and the Journal of Political Marketing. He recently published New Perspectives on Negative Campaigning: Why Attack Politics Matters (with Annemarie S. Walter, ECPR Press, 2015) and Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity (with Pippa Norris, Oxford University Press, 2017).

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Interview #13 to Benjamin Moffitt – Populism “Asian” Style

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Street Art From Japan

There’s people in this country who are sick and tired. Tired of hearing all the rhetoric, tired of Washington failing us while they pat their own backs. Finally someone comes along who says what he feels. That’s why people like him: because say what you want, at least he doesn’t sound like another politician. [1]


In this interview, Benjamin Moffitt describes his approach to populism as a political style, and offers a crucial overview about differences and similarities between Asian and European populism. Benjamin Moffitt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Government, Uppsala University, and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network. He is the author of ‘The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation’ (Stanford University Press, 2016).

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Transnational Left-Wing Populism: A Response to Trump’s Victory (?)

In this article, Panos Panayotu* introduces the concept of transnational left-wing populism and explains why it is a necessary answer to Donald Trump’s victory. Following Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, he provides a brief overview about the advantages of a populist movement which goes beyond national boundaries and that provides an alternative approach to globalization.


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Interview #12 – Historia Magistra Vitae and the Absence of Populism in Chile

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Prof. Rovira Kaltwasser

POP came back to Latin America for an interview with Prof. Rovira Kaltwasser, associate professor of political science at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile. He is the co-editor, with Cas Mudde, of Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? (Cambridge University Press, 2012) as well as the co-editor, with Juan Pablo Luna, of The Resilience of the Latin American Right (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). His new book Populism: A Very Short Introduction, written together with Cas Mudde, will be published by Oxford University Press in February 2017.

The interview is very dense and full of insights about populism in Latin America and beyond, opportunity structures, political actors and parties, similarities with Europe, and peculiarities of the Chilean case. Enjoy the reading. Continue reading

Interview #10 with Paul Taggart – Populism in the UK: a Story of Walls and Islands

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Paul Taggart

Paul Taggart is Professor of Politics and Director of the Sussex European Institute. He has published a number of books including Populism (McGraw-Hill, 2000) and is currently working on populism and the politics of Euroscepticism. In this interview, he explains why mainstream political parties in the UK should not be labelled as populist, and that the crisis of the only truly populist party in the UK, UKIP, should not come as a surprise.

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Interview #9 with Samuele Mazzolini: Trans-Atlantic Left-Wing Populism

foto mazzoliniIn this interview, Samuele Mazzolini discusses the similarities and differences between Latin American left-wing populism (especially in Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia) and European left-wing populism ( in particular about Syriza, Corbyn and Podemos).

Mazzolini is a PhD candidate in Ideology and Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex. His theoretical research focuses on the notions of populism and hegemony in Laclau, while empirically he works on the experiences of the Italian Communist Party and the Ecuadorian Citizens’ Revolution. He previously worked for the Ecuadorian government and was until little ago a regular columnist of the State-owned daily newspaper El Telégrafo. He is a blogger for the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. Continue reading