While the rise of populism in Western Europe over the past three decades has received a great deal of attention in the academic and popular literature, less attention has been paid to the rise of its opposite— anti-populism. This short article examines the discursive and stylistic dimensions of the construction and maintenance of the populism/anti-populism divide in Western Europe, paying particular attention to how anti-populists seek to discredit populist leaders, parties and followers. It argues that this divide is increasingly antagonistic, with both sides of the divide putting forward extremely different conceptions of how democracy should operate in the Western European political landscape: one radical and popular, the other liberal. It closes by suggesting that what is subsumed and feared under the label of the “populist threat” to democracy in Western Europe today is less about populism than nationalism and nativism.
The Rise of Autocracy and Democratic Resilience
)—has become disfigured ( Urbinati 2014 ). Three democratic disfigurations are key theoretically and empirically—technocracy, populism, and plebiscitarianism ( Urbinati 2014 ). Technocracy promises to rescue democracy from its cacophonic partisanship
State Intervention and the Overcoming of Dependency in Africa before the Crisis of the 1970s
) and has nurtured a competent technocracy. It has not been free of the various curses of independent African statehood however: corruption, mismanagement, satisfaction with rentier status, and it is ranked far below Sonangol in competence. Nonetheless