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The Global Rise of PopulismPerformance, Political Style, and Representation$
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Benjamin Moffitt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796132

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796132.001.0001

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Understanding Contemporary Populism: Populism as a Political Style

Understanding Contemporary Populism: Populism as a Political Style

Chapter:
(p.28) 3 Understanding Contemporary Populism: Populism as a Political Style
Source:
The Global Rise of Populism
Author(s):

Benjamin Moffitt

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804796132.003.0003

This chapter develops the concept of political style as a new way of thinking about populism. Synthesising work on the concept in the fields of rhetoric, political philosophy and political sociology, it defines political style as the repertoires of embodied, symbolically mediated performance made to audiences that are used to create and navigate the fields of power that comprise the political, stretching from the domain of government through to everyday life. It then uses this concept to understand populism. This is done inductively, by examining the cases of 28 populist leaders from around the world, and determining what links them in terms of political style. The three key features of populism thought of in this way are: appeal to ‘the people’ versus ‘the elite’; ‘bad manners’; and crisis, breakdown or threat. The chapter then sets out the positive ramifications of using this new conception of populism.

Keywords:   populism, political style, performance, aesthetics, the people, the elite, bad manners, crisis, representation, leadership

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