Since 1945, Argentine politics has been largely defined by Peronism, a populist movement established by General Juan Perón. While the ideology of Peronism has shifted and swerved over its seven-decade history, its central emphasis on loyalty has remained constant. This paper examines the notion of “organicity” (organicidad), a Peronist conception of obedience, to elucidate how populist movements valorize discipline and loyalty in order to unify their ranks around sentiment and ritual in the absence of more stable programmatic positions. The original sense of “organicity”, as Perón developed it in his early writings, equated to strict military notions of discipline, obedience, and insubordination. In other words, Perón understood loyalty as an organic conception of discipline that consisted of both unyielding deference for the leader and unwavering commitment to the Peronist Movement. Yet, at particular moments in Argentine political history, Peronist militants either find organicity and loyalty to be intrinsically incompatible, or vocalize definitions of organicity that seem to question the top-down structure of the movement celebrated in Perón’s writings. As a result, among Peronists there is disagreement over what it means to behave organically and loyally. This article draws on extensive ethnographic fieldwork among Peronist militants to argue that populism’s authoritarian preoccupation with fealty attempts to obscure the internal contradictions that result from its lack of clear ideological commitments. However, an emphasis on loyalty cannot produce eternally harmonious uniformity. As Peronists come to view those holding alternate interpretations of their doctrine as heretical and traitorous, their accusations against their comrades reveal the intrinsic fragility of populist unity.
In three recent critiques of meritocracy – Markovits (2019), Sandel (2020) and Goodhart (2020) – the argument is advanced that the failing pursuit of an education based meritocracy by mainstream political parties, together with the persistence of meritocratic discourse, have generated status discontents that readily translate into support for populist movements and parties. We consider how far recent research can provide empirical grounding for this argument. We find that there is a growing body of evidence that populist support is associated with low social status – is an expression of status rather than of class politics. The evidence that status discontents arise from the discordance between meritocratic discourse and the failure to realise a meritocracy is less strong but, such as it is, appears consistent with the claims that the authors in question make. We suggest that further research in this latter regard would be of more than academic importance, given the policy and political implications that would follow if a meritocracy-populism connection were to be more decisively confirmed.
Contemporary societies face a range of important challenges, including: climate change; poverty; wealth, income, and other forms of social inequality; human rights abuses; misinformation and fake news; the growth of populist movements; and citizen disenchantment with democratic politics [...]
According to one recent review of the burgeoning interdisciplinary scholarly literature on populism, populism’s “relationship with gender issues remains largely understudied” (Abi-Hassan, 2017, 426–427). Of those scholarly treatments that do exist, the lion’s share focus on the role of men and masculinity in populist movements. In this essay, I argue scholarly reflection on the relationship of gender and populism should not be limited to this narrow frame. Through a close examination of the complex gender politics of QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy movement that burst into the mainstream of U.S. politics and culture with the onset of the global Coronavirus pandemic, I demonstrate that populist deployments of femininity are as rich, complex, and potent as their deployments of masculinity. QAnon, I argue, is a case study in how femininity, particularly feminine identities centered on motherhood and maternal duty, can be mobilized to engage women in populist political projects. Until scholars of populism start asking Cynthia Enloe’s famous question, “Where are the women?,” in a sustained and rigorous way, phenomena that are integral to populism’s functioning will elude us and our understanding of the relationship between gender and populism will remain partial and incomplete (Enloe, 2014).
This study presents a new theoretical framework for understanding one of the ways in which populists generate support in elections. It argues that populist movements securitize elections by triggering perceptions of ontological insecurity among voters. Through this strategy, populist movements amplify voters’ negative image of the country they live in and the challenges they face, which contributes to populist movements’ electoral success. Building upon this theoretical framework, this study offers an explanation for the 2015 double general elections in Turkey. The Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) experienced disappointment after losing its parliamentary majority in the June 2015 elections. However, the AKP increased its votes by 8.6 percent in the November 2015 elections. Between these two elections, the AKP had used the Kurdish question to trigger perceptions of ontological insecurity, which enabled it to securitize the elections in November. This strategy helped the AKP win the November elections.
Fake news and populist movements that appear to hold the fate of democracy hostage are urgent concerns around the world. The flight from liberal democracy toward oligarchy has spread out from the unexpected results of the 2016 American presidential elections bringing in a wave of reactionary populism and the beginning of a left populist counter movement. The phenomenon of fake news is often explained in terms of opposition public relations strategies and geopolitics that shift audiences toward a regime of post-truth where emotion is said to triumphs over reason, computational propaganda over common sense, or sheer power over knowledge. In this chapter, the authors propose something different in order to theorize the imaginary audience(s) and conditions of reception for fake news treated as both a symptom (often of injury) and a cause (at times a danger to democracy). This leads them to evaluate the role it plays in defining what the fields of journalism, politics, and social science are becoming and what it means for democracy to come.
While international lawyers have not traditionally paid much attention to the phenomenon of populism, a recent upswing in the populist movements in governments around the world has led to an increase in the fascination of international lawyers with populism. On the whole, there seems to be a view that populism has negatively affected the communitarianism and multilateralism of international law. This article interrogates this proposition. It comes to the conclusion that the proposition is based on an erroneous assumption about the state of international law. It concludes that populism is not a threat to international law, but that populist strategies against certain institutions and rules of international law are merely a reflection of international law’s own limitations.
This article examines the Alternative für Deutschland’s (AfD) racist, nationalist, and far-right discursive strategies in the lead-up to the 2017 federal election. Rather than taking the approach that this party constitutes a “new nationalism” that is out of touch with mainstream conceptions of German nationhood, the article depicts the ways in which the recognizability of the AfD’s anti-Muslim racism was predicated on mainstream civilizationist discursive repertoires and the rise of the populist-nationalist right. To do so, I compare themes presented by legal experts and mainstream politicians in favor of banning veiling in the mid-2000s to the civilizationist claims made by the AfD between 2015 and 2017. This article thus extends case analyses of contemporary right-wing nationalist and populist movements to Germany. It also emphasizes the antecedents of the “new nationalism” classification applied to such movements.
Georgia has proved no exception to recent political trends, which have seen the increased prominence and influence of far right populist parties and movements purporting to represent ‘the people’ in an antagonistic struggle against the ‘elites’ or ‘enemies’. However, while considerable academic attention has been devoted to cases in Central and Western Europe (CWE), studies of Georgian far right populism are less common. This paper examines the political styles of two Georgian far right actors, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) and Georgian March (GM). I argue that the populist discursive frames both employ demonstrate enough commonalities with their CWE counterparts to consider them members of the far right populist ‘family’. However, the prevalence of populist politics, highly influential role of ‘traditional values’ promoted by the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC), and Russian influence, are three important factors which produce a uniquely Georgian ‘flavour’ to far right populist movements in Georgia.