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Accomplishments and limitations of the ‘new’ mainstream in contemporary populism studies
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Accomplishments and limitations of the ‘new’ mainstream in contemporary populism studies

Author: Yannis Stavrakakis Affiliation: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece; Anton Jäger Affiliation: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Edition/Format: Article Article
Publication:European Journal of Social Theory, (2017)
Summary:
Two recent books on populism represent more than any other the new mainstream in populism studies. Through a reconstruction of the main arguments advanced by Jan-Werner Müller, on the one hand, and Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, on the other, this article aims to highlight both the significant accomplishments as well as the main limitations of this orientation. Special attention is given to the way in  Read more...
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: Yannis Stavrakakis Affiliation: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece; Anton Jäger Affiliation: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
ISSN:1368-4310
Unique Identifier: 7183827275
Notes: Yannis Stavrakakis, School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 46 Egnatia, Thessaloniki, 54625, Greece. Email: yanstavr@yahoo.co.uk
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Abstract:

Two recent books on populism represent more than any other the new mainstream in populism studies. Through a reconstruction of the main arguments advanced by Jan-Werner Müller, on the one hand, and Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, on the other, this article aims to highlight both the significant accomplishments as well as the main limitations of this orientation. Special attention is given to the way in which the two projects deal with the relationship between populism and democracy. In this respect, substantial differences emerge between them, largely due to the different scope of each intervention: Müller articulates a polemical argument, while Mudde and Kaltwasser seem to encompass a more nuanced research agenda. And yet, despite all their differences, the two books share a common definitional basis when they identify moralization and moralism as the kernel of populist ideology. It is here, however, that the shaky basis of the new mainstream is revealed. Apart from betraying substantive continuities with a discredited Cold War pluralism, this moralistic stress seems ultimately inadequate to function as the central criterion for the differential identification of populism.

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