The Rise of the Capital-State and Neo-Nationalism: A New Polanyian Moment

In this article, Oleksandr Svitych presents his new book, The Rise of the Capital-state and Neo-nationalism, third installment of the Global Populism series by Brill. By looking at cases such as Jobbik and Fidesz, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, and progressive parties in South Korea, Svitych follows Polanyi and observes the effects of social marketization while answering the following questions: What is neo-nationalism, how can we contrast it, and what does it have to do with populism?

Continue reading

Chatbot politicians: artificial intelligence and “next level” populism

Is it already time to discuss the possible manifestations of artificial intelligence populism? What would populism look like in the form of AI? Let’s discover it together with Silvija Vuković, who engaged in a conversation with Leader Lars, the chatbot who represents the instances of a new experiment: the Synthetic Party.

Enjoy the read…

Continue reading

The stigmatization effect of radical right parties

Are populist radical right parties stigmatized? And if so, is this stigmatization consistent over time? Testing these questions in a country where the populist radical right has been traditionally stigmatized, this article illustrates that the Sweden Democrats face indeed a strong stigma among the Swedish electorate. This stigmatization persists even now that an official cordon sanitaire no longer exists, or it is at least questioned. Through experiments realized in 2011 and 2018 the authors describe the degree of stigmatization of the populist radical right in Sweden and its evolution over time.

Enjoy the read.


Continue reading

Interview #57 — The strategic use of Populism

What is a populist party? How do we recognize populist politicians? And even more importantly: if every political discourse can contain populism, does it still make sense to distinguish between populist and non-populist actors? In this interview, Magdalena Breyer explains that political actors – both populist as well as mainstream ones – can make use of a populist rhetoric in a strategic way. For example, both mainstream and populist parties are substantially more populist when in opposition. On the other hand, mainstream parties who lose votes don’t really become more populist. Moreover, Magdalena shows that in Austria the populist parties FPÖ and BZÖ substantially decreased their degree of populism when in government.

On a different note, the tour of presentations of The Populist Interviews continues. After three amazing events in the Netherlands, soon there will be an online even, a podcast, an Italian mini-tour, a presentation in Switzerland, and much more.

Check all the news and updates here, and enjoy the read!

Continue reading

Who is a populist?

In this article, Jakob Schwörer discusses demonizing practices of mainstream parties towards the populist radical right on social media and how the term “populism” itself is used as a form of negative campaigning in political competition. In particular, he rejects Chantal Mouffe’s thesis that mainstream parties are highly engaged in demonizing populist radical right parties and sheds light on the use of the term populism in political campaigning.   

Enjoy the read.

Continue reading

The worldwide expansion of populism in power

What do populists do once in power? In what do they differ from traditional authoritrian leaders? In this article, Wojciech Sadurski answers these questions while introducing his new book “A Pandemic of Populists” (Cambridge University Press). First, all populist leaders in power, he claims, share some common characteristics: they use aggressive language about their opponents, and often demonize their enemies. The narratives they develop often draw on conspiracy theories, and their discourse deploys familiar tropes that brings it close to fascism (anti-Semitism, religious bigotry, antipathy to rationalism and Enlightenment, xenophobia). Moreover, formal institutions are viewed by populist leaders as irritants, unnecessarily throwing obstacles on the path of implementing the leadership’s will. Finally, populist regimes rely on a thoroughly corrupt symbiosis of political power with the economy.

But isn’t this just traditional authortiarianism? No, argues Sadurski, because populist regimes respect at least one civil right of their citizens: that of participating in free, fair and regular elections. Indeed, populists are unlikely to fundamentally abolish free and fair elections because their whole legitimacy relies upon the claim to represent the People. But what sort of democracy do you have if there are no checks and balances which prevent the accumulation of all powers in the hands of one person?

Enjoy the read.

Continue reading

Interview #53 – Euroscepticism and the radical right

In this interview, Marta Lorimer discusses the relationship between far right parties and Euroscepticism, explaining that although some of them have even advocated leaving the EU or the Eurozone, they cannot be defined as ‘naturally’ Eurosceptic, but rather Euro-ambivalent. Looking at Movimento Sociale Italiano and Rassemblement National, it becomes clear that far right parties might even advocate for more Europe, or at least a different one, and that their positions evolve over time.

Moreover, far right parties can even use their opposition to the EU as a powerful tool for legitimation which allows them to retain the support of their existing electoral base while attracting new voters by presenting them a ‘softer’ and less nationalist face. At the same time, Lorimer stresses that the reason why far right parties currently do not support the EU (and support Europe) has more to do with nationalism than with populism. 

Concerning the potential for ‘nationalist internationals’, Lorimer claims that they can only work when there is alignment between the national and the international interest, which is why it is unlikely that populist radical right parties will be able to form an alliance strong enough to take over the EU. Finally, we talk about the tools that the EU can use to defend its key values—such as rule of law—and the challenge posed by cases like Hungary and Poland.

The Populism Interviews.indd

Some of you might have noticed that the last interview (on Romanian populism) was published a year ago, which is by far the longest gap between interviews since this blog exists. There is a good reason for this long wait: a book of 30 interviews to amazing scholars will be published by Routledge in September! It will be titled ‘The Populism Interviews: A Dialogue with Leading Experts‘ and it will look like this…

While waiting for the book, enjoy this new interview with Marta Lorimer!

Continue reading

Measuring Populism: New Frontiers

In this article, Jessica di Cocco discusses a topic around which different schools of thought, interpretations, and creeds exist: how to measure populism. In particular, she explores the new frontiers of the possible measurement of populism in speeches: automated content analysis, machine learning and text-as-data.

A sparkling, refreshing article, to cross old borders and chart new directions.

Enjoy the read.

Continue reading

Populism and Regime Change: The Andes in Comparative Perspective

Does populism in power lead inexorably to the end of electoral democracy? And if not, what explains why populism leads to regime change in some cases but not in others? In this article, Julio Carrión answers these question by comparing the evolution of populism in power in five Latin American countries from the Andes region: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Carrión explains that populist leaders are elected when two critical antecedents are both present: deep popular unsatisfaction with existing political choices, and deeply divided or disorganised political elites. At this point, whether democracy survives or it is replaced by authortiarian rule, it depends on the outcome of what Carrión calls “Hobbesian moment”. This is a conflict between populist leaders—who want to expand their power—and socio-institutional elements fighting to preserve the checks and balances crucial for the functioning of liberal democracy.

Enjoy the read.

Continue reading

Populist Rhetoric, Slanted Causal Stories, and Polarization in Mexico

In this article, Rodolfo Sarsfield talks about the populist ideology in the discourse of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), president of Mexico, and the deep polarization it is unleashing. AMLO has been described as an authoritarian politician without any fixed ideology who inspires cultlike devotion in his followers. How does he construct the idea of people and who is part of what he calls mafia of power? Who are the fifís and who are the chairos? How does the populist discourse change from opposition to government? Sarsfield answers these and other questions…

Enjoy the read.

Continue reading