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Global Populisms and Their Impact

Abstract

Populism is on the rise: but to understand this phenomenon, we should first clearly conceptualize it and recognize that populism takes on different forms in various historical and political contexts. These “populisms” pose a threat to modern liberal democracy. As Poland and Hungary show, populists exclude entire swathes of society from the polity, and undermine the formal institutions and the informal norms of democracy.

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References
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1. To code parties as populist, I rely on both the parties’ stated programmatic and campaign commitments, and previous codings of parties as populist or unorthodox. See: Deegan-Krause Kevin and Haughton Tim, “Towards a More Useful Conceptualization of Populism: Types and Degrees of Populist Appeals in the Case of Slovakia,” Politics and Policy 37, no. 4 (August, 2009): 821–41; Haughton Tim, “Driver, Conductor, or Fellow Passenger? EU Membership and Party Politics in Central and Eastern Europe,” Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 25, no. 4 (November 2009): 413–26; Mudde Cas, “The Populist Zeitgeist,” Government and Opposition 39, no. 4 (September 2004): 542–63; Pop-Eleches Grigore, “Throwing out the Bums: Protest Voting and Unorthodox Parties after Communism,” World Politics 62, no. 2 (April 2010): 221–60; Bustikova Lenka, “Revenge of the Radical Right,” Comparative Political Studies 47, no. 12 (October 2014): 1738–65. I include all parties that claim to speak in the name of the people or the nation against a corrupt elite, including those that do so in the name of redefining the nation more narrowly (nationalist and some right-wing radical parties) and in the name of rejecting the existing liberal market and political model. Populist parties thus have elective affinities with protest parties: “nonorthodox” and “anti-establishment” parties, and their shared desire to “throw the bums out.” This coding is broader than right-wing extremist parties that are both highly socially conservative and highly nationalistic and narrower than “unorthodox” parties.

2. Canovan Margaret, “Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy,” Political Studies 47, no. 1 (March, 1999): 216 ; see also Mudde, The Populist Zeitgeist”; Taggart Paul A., Populism (Buckingham, Eng., 2000); Stanley Ben, “The Thin Ideology of Populism,” Journal of Political Ideologies 13, no. 1 (January 2008): 95110 ; and Weyland Kurt, “Clarifying a Contested Concept: Populism in the Study of Latin American Politics,” Comparative Politics 39, no. 1 (October 2001): 122 .

3. Krastev Ivan, “The Strange Death of the Liberal Consensus,” Journal of Democracy 18, no. 4 (October 2007): 5663 ; György Gyulai, 2013. Fico’s Slovakia: The Force Restrained,” Hungarian Review 4, no. 2 (March 2013): 3747 , especially 38, also at http://hungarianreview.com/article/ficos_slovakia_the_force_restrained (last accessed April 25, 2017).

4. The same cannot be said for Fidesz: its failure to resolve the economic woes of Hungary has meant its standing in public opinion polls has dropped over time.

6. European Commission For Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission of the Council of Europe), Opinion on the New Constitution of Hungary, 87th Plenary Session (Venice, 17–18 June 2011), 1–29, here 19, at http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL-AD(2011)016-e (last accessed April 25, 2017).

7. Jasiewicz Krzysztof, “The Political-party Landscape,” Journal of Democracy 18, no. 4 (October 2007): 2633 , here 31.

8. “Transitional Acts of Hungary’s Basic Law” December 2011, at http://lapa.princeton.edu/hosteddocs/hungary/The%20Transitional%20Acts%20--%20Constitutional%20Addendum.pdf (last accessed April 25, 2017).

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Slavic Review
  • ISSN: 0037-6779
  • EISSN: 2325-7784
  • URL: /core/journals/slavic-review
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