Rethinking Populism: Peak democracy, liquid identity and the performance of sovereignty

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Despite the burgeoning literature on right-wing populism, there is still considerable uncertainty about its causes, its impact on liberal democracies and about promising counter-strategies. Inspired by recent suggestions that (1) the emancipatory left has made a significant contribution to the proliferation of the populist right; and (2) populist movements, rather than challenging the established socio-political order, in fact stabilize and further entrench its logic, this article argues that an adequate understanding of the populist phenomenon necessitates a radical shift of perspective: beyond the democratic and emancipatory norms, which still govern most of the relevant literature. Approaching its subject matter via democratic theory and modernization theory, it undertakes a reassessment of the triangular relationship between modernity, democracy and populism. It finds that the latter is not helpfully conceptualized as anti-modernist or anti-democratic but should, instead, be regarded as a predictable feature of the form of politics distinctive of today’s third modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 21
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 506014 Comparative politics
  • 504001 General sociology
  • 504 not use (legacy)

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