Neither Shadow nor Spectre

Populism as the Ideological Embodiment of the Democratic Paradox

in Theoria
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  • 1 Shanghai Jiao Tong University borjaala@gmail.com
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Abstract

The beating heart of democratic politics is a set of paradoxes revolving around the issues of popular identity and sovereignty. Populist ideology appeals to the sovereign people, consequently engaging the democratic paradox in a manner akin to either moving an immoveable object or catching something in constant flux. Marginal consideration has been given by scholars to populism's relationship with the democratic paradox, with current notions of the former seeing it more as a result of the latter. Thus, by recasting the democratic paradox as a question and analysing its relationship with populist ideology, this article seeks to clarify the supposedly ambiguous relationship between populism and democracy. In analysing the transformative processes within populism by using early Peronism and Italian Fascism as case studies, it argues that as the ideological embodiment of the democratic paradox populist ideology preserves and expresses the paradox in the public sphere.

Contributor Notes

Anthony Lawrence Borja is a PhD Candidate in the Public Administration programme of Shanghai Jiao Tong University's School of International and Public Affairs. His research interests and publications are in comparative politics, political economy, political theory and political philosophy. E-mail: borjaala@gmail.com

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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