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Populism in Europe and the Americas
Threat or Corrective for Democracy?


Award Winner
Cas Mudde, Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Sarah L. de Lange, Tjitske Akkerman, David Laycock, Seán Hanley, Kathleen Bruhn, Franz Fallend, Kenneth M. Roberts, Steven Levitsky, James Loxton, Kevin Deegan-Krause
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  • Date Published: October 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107023857

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About the Authors
  • Although 'populism' has become something of a buzzword in discussions about politics, it tends to be studied by country or region. This is the first book to offer a genuine cross-regional perspective on populism and its impact on democracy. By analyzing current experiences of populism in Europe and the Americas, this edited volume convincingly demonstrates that populism can be both a threat and a corrective to democracy. The contributors also demonstrate the interesting similarities between right-wing and left-wing populism: both types of populism are prone to defend a political model that is not against democracy per se, but rather at odds with liberal democracy. Populism in Europe and the Americas offers new insights into the current state of democracy from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view.

    • A cross-regional comparison of populism providing insight into populism and identifying the regional characteristics of populism in Europe and the Americas
    • Written by the premier specialists of populism and politics in each country, ensuring detailed and accurate accounts of populist politics in the specific historical and political context of each country
    • Consistent use of the same theoretical framework of populism and democracy enables cumulative knowledge and meaningful comparisons across countries and regions
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    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser's volume makes conceptual and empirical headway on what is difficult terrain. They sensibly define populism as a 'thin-centered' ideology, more akin to a political style that finds highly diverse empirical expressions in conjunction with varying specific circumstances and 'thick' beliefs about the correct social and political order. The editors have done a great job assembling a set of case studies with just the right variance to speak to the theoretical question they put front and center, namely the differential consequences of populism for democratic participation and contestation.' Herbert Kitschelt, George V. Allen Professor of International Relations, Duke University

    'Does populism do more damage to democracy by undermining pluralism and competition, or more good by boosting participation and inclusion? With its bold cross-regional comparisons, this interesting book establishes the conditions under which each effect prevails and thus provides a new and nuanced answer to this important question.' Kurt Weyland, University of Texas, Austin

    'This timely volume helps answer one of the most important questions in the study of populism, namely, how populism and democracy interrelate. Readers will be pleased not only with the book's answer, but with its empirical focus: it tests and refines its theories through case studies that cross several regions. Such an extraordinary comparative perspective not only offers powerful insights into the relationship between populist discourse, incumbency, and democratic consolidation but also demonstrates the carrying capacity of an ideational definition of populism. It shows just how far the study of populism has come in the past decade.' Kirk Hawkins, Brigham Young University

    'Populism in Europe and the Americas is a valuable contribution to the increasingly crowded field of populism studies … it is unique and ambitious in its aim to test empirically and systematically the effects of populism on democracy in multiple cases … The case studies are rich in insights and provide substantiation for the conclusion that populism can be a corrective as well as a threat to democracy.' Stijn van Kessel, Journal of Contemporary European Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107023857
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Populism and (liberal) democracy: a framework for analysis Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
    2. Populist parties in Belgium: a case of hegemonic liberal democracy? Sarah L. de Lange and Tjitske Akkerman
    3. Populism and democracy in Canada's Reform Party David Laycock
    4. The Czech Republicans, 1990–8: a populist outsider in a consolidating democracy Seán Hanley
    5. 'To hell with your corrupt institutions!': AMLO and populism in Mexico Kathleen Bruhn
    6. Populism in government: the case of Austria (2000–7) Franz Fallend
    7. Populism and democracy in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez Kenneth M. Roberts
    8. Populism and competitive authoritarianism: the case of Fujimori's Peru Steven Levitsky and James Loxton
    9. Populism, democracy, and nationalism in Slovakia Kevin Deegan-Krause
    10. Populism: corrective and threat to democracy Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser.

  • Editors

    Cas Mudde, University of Georgia
    Cas Mudde holds a PhD from Leiden University and is currently the Hampton and Esther Boswell Distinguished University Professor of Political Science at DePauw University. His most recent book, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2007), won the Stein Rokkan Prize and was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2008.

    Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, University of Sussex
    Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser holds a PhD from the Humboldt University of Berlin, has worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB). He is the recipient of the Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for a two-year research project on populism in Europe and Latin America, which he is currently undertaking at the University of Sussex. His research interests include populism, democracy and Latin American politics and his work has been published in Democratization and the Latin American Research Review, among others.


    Cas Mudde, Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Sarah L. de Lange, Tjitske Akkerman, David Laycock, Seán Hanley, Kathleen Bruhn, Franz Fallend, Kenneth M. Roberts, Steven Levitsky, James Loxton, Kevin Deegan-Krause


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

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