European Journal of Social Theory 21 (4):547-565 (2018)

Two recent books on populism represent more than any other the new mainstream in populism studies. Through a reconstruction of the main arguments advanced by Jan-Werner Müller, on the one hand, and Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, on the other, this article aims to highlight both the significant accomplishments as well as the main limitations of this orientation. Special attention is given to the way in which the two projects deal with the relationship between populism and democracy. In this respect, substantial differences emerge between them, largely due to the different scope of each intervention: Müller articulates a polemical argument, while Mudde and Kaltwasser seem to encompass a more nuanced research agenda. And yet, despite all their differences, the two books share a common definitional basis when they identify moralization and moralism as the kernel of populist ideology. It is here, however, that the shaky basis of the new mainstream is revealed. Apart from betraying substantive continuities with a discredited Cold War pluralism, this moralistic stress seems ultimately inadequate to function as the central criterion for the differential identification of populism.
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DOI 10.1177/1368431017723337
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References found in this work BETA

On Populist Reason.Ernesto Laclau - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (4):832-835.
Post-Democracy.[author unknown] - 2004
A Revolt Against Intermediary Bodies.Nadia Urbinati - 2015 - Constellations 22 (4):477-486.

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Citations of this work BETA

Review Article: Forget Populism?Andy Scerri - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
Review Article: Forget Populism?Andy Scerri - 2022 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 25 (2):294-317.

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