15 research outputs found

    The populist surge in post-democratic times: Theoretical and political challenges

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    Populism has often been described as a great challenge and threat to Western democracies. Not surprisingly, at a time in which we are witnessing a significant rise in populist actors in Europe and the US, scientific analyses and commentary regarding populism have become particularly popular and, indeed, necessary. My aim in this article is to offer a brief yet comprehensive overview of the ongoing debates in a bid to problematise the supposed ‚Äėimminent threat‚Äô of populism in light of recent developments within the political systems and societies of established democracies, especially under conditions of crisis. I understand populism as a specific type of discourse, and thus as a way‚ÄĒamong others‚ÄĒof doing politics and appealing to groups of people. Thus, I highlight the varying orientations that populist movements might take, depending on the ideological traditions with which they are closely articulated and the sociopolitical environment in which they manifest. Last, I relate the ‚Äėpopulist surge‚Äô to discussions regarding post-democracy

    Revisiting the nationalism/populism nexus: Lessons from the Greek case

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    This article explores the relationship between people and nation by focusing on the Greek case, which has attracted considerable political and media attention throughout the last few years. The article traces the ways in which populism and nationalism have been related within Greek political culture diachronically, inclusive of the current crisis conjuncture. We follow this trajectory from the 1940s and the Greek Civil War up until today in order to capture the unexpectedly dynamic and ambivalent relationship between the two and account for its multiple mutations. The conclusions drawn from this country-specific exploration are expected to have wider implications for populism research internationally

    The populism/anti-populism frontier and its mediation in crisis-ridden Greece: from discursive divide to emerging cleavage?

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    Along with other South-European countries, since 2008, Greece has experienced deep economic and social dislocation, leading to a crisis of representation and triggering populist mobilisations and anti-populist reactions. This article focuses on the antagonistic language games developed around populist representations, something that has not attracted much attention in the relevant literature. Highlighting the need to study anti-populism together with populism, focusing on their mutual constitution from a discursive perspective, it articulates a brief yet comprehensive genealogy of populist and anti-populist actors (parties and media) in Greece, exploring their discursive strategies. Moving on, it identifies the main characteristics this antagonistic divide took on within the newly contested, crisis-ridden sociopolitical field, highlighting the implications for a contemporary understanding of cleavages, with potentially broader implications

    A new populism index at work: identifying populist candidates and parties in the contemporary Greek context

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    Interrogating available indexes from a discourse-theoretical point of view, this paper utilizes a reformulated populism index in order to identify populist parties. In particular, the index is applied in a candidate survey carried out in Greece in 2015. Findings indicate that this index allows for a clear differentiation between populist and non-populist parties. Based on candidate attitudes, SYRIZA and ANEL belong to the first group whereas New Democracy, PASOK and River to the second. The examination of additional survey items reveals a clear ideological division within the populist camp: right-wing populism is exclusionary, while left-wing populism more inclusive and pluralist

    Populism, anti-populism and crisis

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    This article focuses on two issues involved in the formation and political trajectory of populist representations within political antagonism. First, it explores the role of crisis in the articulation of populist discourse. This problematic is far from new within theories of populism but has recently taken a new turn. We thus purport to reconsider the way populism and crisis are related, mapping the different modalities this relation can take and advancing further their theorization from the point of view of a discursive theory of the political, drawing primarily on the Essex School perspective initially developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Second, this will involve focusing on the antagonistic language games developed around populist representations, something that has not attracted equal attention. Highlighting the need to study anti-populism together with populism, focusing on their mutual constitution, we will test the ensuing theoretical framework in an analysis of SYRIZA, a recent and, as a result, under-researched example of egalitarian, inclusionary populism emerging within the European crisis landscape

    Constructing ‚Äėthe people‚Äô of populism: a critique of the ideational approach from a discursive perspective

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    This article takes as its starting point the emerging consensus among scholars regarding the core defining characteristics of populism, namely the centrality of ‚Äėthe people‚Äô and an antagonistic view of society that pits the former against an unresponsive or illegitimate elite. It suggests that the assumption found in the currently dominant strand of populism studies, the so-called ideational approach, that populism necessarily constructs a homogeneous and morally pure people is problematic and may lead to analytical and normative bias, as it automatically equates populism with an anti-pluralist and illiberal form of politics. To substantiate this point, the article starts from a brief survey of the complex language games involved in the construction of ‚Äėthe people‚Äô in democratic modernity. It then moves on to reconstruct the key principles of the ideational and the discursive approaches to populism, suggesting that the latter offers a more robust and flexible framework for understanding how populism creates a sense of unity out of linking a series of heterogeneous demands and identities, without necessarily resulting in a homogeneous ‚Äėpeople,‚Äô while it problematizes the role of moral framings in populism and politics more broadly. A series of relevant empirical cases of diverse populist mobilisations, ranging from the radical left to the radical right, and from party politics to social movements, are surveyed to provide empirical grounding for the theoretical argument. The suggestion put forth is not to dismiss the ideational approach and its important legacy, but rather to revise two of its key elements, the homogeneity thesis and the morality thesis, opening up the possibility to conceive of ‚Äėthe people‚Äô in terms of unity and to understand the latter‚Äôs antagonism with the ‚Äėelite‚Äô in terms of politics

    The place of the people in post-democracy: researching ‚Äėantipopulism‚Äô and post-democracy in crisis-ridden Greece

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    The aim of this article is to investigate ‚Äúantipopulism‚ÄĚ as a distinct discursive repertoire that marginalizes ‚Äúthe people‚ÄĚ as the legitimizing cornerstone of democracy. After providing an account of the Greek post-democratic transition from the mid-nineties onwards, I will then delve into what could be described as the ‚Äúpopulism/anti-populism‚ÄĚ ideologicopolitical divide, as it manifests in the Greek political system and also on the European level during the past few years, and especially within the ongoing crisis. The main hypothesis is that ‚Äúanti-populism‚ÄĚ can be seen as a crucial aspect of post-democracy, introducing what could be described as a peculiar Ideological State Apparatus in the Althusserian sense; a way to marginalize disagreement and democratic dissensus and discipline a public sphere in an age dominated by technocratic virtue, expert knowledge and ‚Äėconsensus politics‚Äô

    The populist radical left in Greece: Syriza in opposition and in power

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    The contribution of this chapter is threefold: First, it offers an original and extensive survey of the discourse of Syriza while in opposition and critically assesses it in terms of its populist character and ideologico-political contents. Second, it delves into the peculiarities of Syriza’s populism to highlight specific shortcomings in mainstream approaches to populism, while advocating for a minimal discursive definition based on the theoretical contribution of Ernesto Laclau. Third, it offers an assessment of Syriza’s populism in power, linking the empirical findings of this particular case-study with broader theoretical questions regarding populism’s transition from opposition to power

    Radical left populism in contemporary Greece: Syriza's trajectory from minoritarian opposition to power

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    The recent rise to power of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece has confronted political scientists with an empirical terra incognita and a broader theoretico-political puzzle. On the one hand, research on the European radical Left is relatively underdeveloped; on the other hand, Syriza’s left-wing egalitarian and inclusionary populism challenges the definitions and analytical tools of various models regarding the populist phenomenon. This article aims at an in-depth exploration of Syriza’s discourse, covering the period from its emergence as a loose coalition of parties and groups in 2004 up to the campaign that led to its accession to power in 2015. The contribution of this study to the relevant literature is twofold. First, it offers an original and extensive survey of the discourse of this coalition/party while in opposition, and also critically assesses it interms of its populist character and particular contents. Second, it builds on the peculiarities of Syriza’s populism to highlight specific shortcomings in mainstream approaches to populism, while it advocates a minimal discursive definition of populism based on the theoretical contribution of Ernesto Laclau and the so-called “Essex School.

    Grèce: le choix européen, malgré tout

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    Quelles leçons tirer de la crise grecque ? Un Grexit menace-t-il l’union? Autant de questions qui interrogent la gestion de cette crise par l’Europe.</p
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