Populism, Liberalism, Democracy – 3rd Populism Specialist Group (PSA) Workshop, 12-13 April 2019, Loughborough University

Keynote speakers: 
Ruth Wodak, Emerita Professor of Discourse Studies, 
Lancaster University
Michael Freeden, Emeritus Professor of Politics, 
University of Oxford

 

Call for Papers

Populism has been a buzzword for quite a few years now. But after Brexit and Trump, and with the rise of new populist actors in Europe and beyond we have been witnessing an unprecedented inflation in the use of the term both in the public sphere and in academic debates. The concept is often applied to antithetical phenomena, left-wing and right-wing, anti-democratic or radical democratic ones. Accordingly, the debate seems to be split between those who see populism as a ‘clear and present danger’ for democracy and those that stress the democratic potential of such movements. A lot depends on the particular definition of democracy one adopts: elitist or participatory, liberal or radical; and thus on the normative position one takes. Indeed, for many researchers and commentators, democracy is often reduced exclusively to liberal democracy, which leads to an almost automatic dismissal of all populist movements either as undemocratic or, at best, as minimally democratic but ‘illiberal’.

The Populism Specialist Group seeks papers that confront these questions. Is populism by definition anti-democratic or illiberal? What is the relationship between the crisis of liberal democracy and the proliferation of populism(s) in today’s world? Is populism, at best, a symptom of this crisis or can it be also envisaged as a solution for the reinvigoration of democracy? What are the conditions leading to the one or the other political outcome?

We are looking for abstracts which engage with the question of populist politics from either a theoretical, empirical, or methodological perspective, qualitative or quantitative, local or global. In particular, we are interested in papers that deal with the various definitions and concrete forms of populism in their ambivalent relationship with liberalism and democracy.

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Please send your abstract to yanstavr@yahoo.co.uk no later than January 10, 2019. Any questions can be addressed to the same email. Please also visit our Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest updates.

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