Populism

The Timeline of a Concept

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Author:
Juan Francisco FuentesComplutense University of Madrid fuentes.juanfrancisco@gmail.com

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Abstract

The concept of populism has generated endless controversy marked by both the contrasting political feelings it conveys and a particular problem of definition. This article—based on political speeches, academic literature, and relevant online sources, such as Google Ngram Viewer, catalogs of great libraries, and digital archives of newspapers—adopts a pragmatic approach to the concept throughout its history, from the moment when the noun appeared in North American political life in the late nineteenth century until the most recent “populist moment” in response to the economic crisis that started in 2008. The study of its changing meanings shows, however, some elements of continuity that make sense of what Margaret Canovan defined as “a notoriously vague term.”

Contributor Notes

Juan Francisco Fuentes is Professor of Modern History at the Complutense University of Madrid, Department of International Relations and Global History. Email: fuentes.juanfrancisco@gmail.com

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