Three challenges in contemporary populism research

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Publication Date October 2018
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Populism has become one of the most hotly debated topics in European politics, but how should academics seek to study it? Yannis Stavrakakis identifies three key challenges in contemporary populism research:

+ the need for critical reflexivity
+ the use of minimal definitions
+ the difficulty in capturing and accounting for different types or degrees of populism (rigorous typology).

See also further EuroppBlog articles:

+ Understanding populism: What role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Three distinct crises have hit the European Union in the last decade: the Great Recession, the migration crisis, and Brexit. As Andrea L. P. Pirro explains, there has been a widespread assumption that populist parties with Eurosceptic profiles have been the main political beneficiaries from these crises. But there still remains much to be understood about what populists make out of such crises, as well as their impact on Euroscepticism.

+ The liberal conception of ‘freedom’ is incapable of addressing the problems of contemporary capitalism

The rise of populism and ‘illiberal democracies’ are often viewed as a reaction to the failure of liberal capitalism to meet the needs of citizens. For Andrea Lorenzo Capussela, the liberal conception of freedom as ‘non-interference’ may lie at the heart of this equation. He suggests that a republican notion of freedom as ‘non-domination’ might be more useful in addressing the problems of contemporary capitalism.

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Related Links
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 30.08.18: Judy Asks: Does Europe Have an Alternative to Populism?
The Conversation, 09.08.18: We live in a populist age – but who are ‘the people’?
UCL Brexit Blog, 25.07.18: Exposing Populist Disunity in Europe: How the EU could find friends among enemies
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 04.07.18: Understanding the rise of the populist establishment
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 11.07.18: Breaking the populism ‘doom loop’
European Council on Foreign Relations: Commentary, 01.03.17: What Liberal World Order?
The Conversation: Tag: Populism
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 07.06.18: Understanding populism: What role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?
Social Europe, 24.07.18: A European Super-PAC To Take On Bannon’s Illiberal Shock Troops
Pew Research Centre: FactTank, 12.07.18: 5 key takeaways about populism and the political landscape in Western Europe
Martens Centre: Blog, 24.07.18: Steve Bannon is coming to Brussels; don’t hold your breath!
Politico, 23-25.07.18: Europe’s far right doesn’t bear hug Steve Bannon back
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 08.08.18: Why has the populist radical right outperformed the populist radical left in Europe?
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 18.08.18: Generation wars over Brexit and beyond: How young and old are divided over social values
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 13.09.2018: Demonising populism won’t work – Europe needs a progressive populist alternative
Chatham House: Research Paper, May 2018: Exploring Transatlantic Responses to Far-right Populism in Europe: Simulation Exercise
Populismus Observatory - Observatory on Populist Discourse and Democracy
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 26.10.18: Nativists, racists and other nasty people? Understanding who populists are and what they really want
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 29.10.18: The liberal conception of ‘freedom’ is incapable of addressing the problems of contemporary capitalism

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