In this interview, Ezgi Elçi talks about the populist use of the past. Collective nostalgia is about yearning for a time before a fall or a decline in society: populists often instrumentalize this feeling to generate an opposition between the pure people versus immoral elites. Unexpectedly, though, the nostalgia of populists is more about the future than the past. The elites allegedly betrayed the country in the past, but what really matters is to build a new society which, clearly, needs new (populist) elites.
We then move to discuss the case of Turkey, and how Erdogan’s party (AKP) exploits Ottoman nostalgia to legitimize contemporary policies: the secular elites are blamed because they cut ties between the people and the glorious Ottoman Empire, thus mobilizing mostly Islamic masses. We then talk about nostalgia in the UK, Hungary, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and the the links between nostalgia and populism.
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