What is populism? Who is the populist?

A state of the field review (2008-2018)

in Democratic Theory
Author:
Jean-Paul Gagnon University of Canberra Jean-Paul.Gagnon@canberra.edu.au

Search for other papers by Jean-Paul Gagnon in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Emily Beausoleil Victoria University of Wellington emily.beausoleil@vuw.ac.nz

Search for other papers by Emily Beausoleil in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Kyong-Min Son University of Delaware kmson@udel.edu

Search for other papers by Kyong-Min Son in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Cleve Arguelles University of the Philippines cvarguelles@up.edu.ph

Search for other papers by Cleve Arguelles in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Pierrick Chalaye University of Canberra u3143046@uni.canberra.edu.au

Search for other papers by Pierrick Chalaye in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Callum N. Johnston
Search for other papers by Callum N. Johnston in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

Both “populism” and “populist” have long been considered ill-defined terms, and therefore are regularly misapplied in both scholarly and popular discourses.1 This definitional difficulty is exacerbated by the Babelian confusion of voices on populism, where the term’s meaning differs within and between global regions (e.g. Latin America versus Western Europe); time periods (e.g. 1930s versus the present), and classifications (e.g. left/ right, authoritarian/libertarian, pluralist/antipluralist, as well as strains that muddy these distinctions such as homonationalism, xenophobic feminism and multicultural neonationalism). While useful efforts have been made to navigate the vast and heterogeneous conceptual terrain of populism,2 they rarely engage with each other. The result is a dizzying proliferation of different definitions unaccompanied by an understanding as to how they might speak to each other. And this conceptual fragmentation reinforces, and is reinforced by, diverging assessments of populism which tend to cast it as either “good” or “bad” for democracy (e.g. Dzur and Hendriks 2018; Müller 2015).

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Democratic Theory

An Interdisciplinary Journal

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 3237 1452 300
PDF Downloads 3804 1483 218