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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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The Stage I: Populism and Crisis

The Stage I: Populism and Crisis

(p.113) 7 The Stage I: Populism and Crisis
The Global Rise of Populism

Benjamin Moffitt

Stanford University Press

While the received wisdom in the literature on populism is that crisis is a trigger for populism, this chapter offers a new perspective, arguing that we should also consider how populism attempts to act as a trigger for crisis. This is because crisis is never just a neutral or objective phenomenon, but must be performed and mediated by certain actors – something populists tend to do well. Conceptualising crisis as the ‘spectacularisation of failure’, the chapter shows how populists use crisis to pit ‘the people’ against a dangerous Other, radically simplify the terrain of political debate; and advocate strong leadership and quick political action. In making this argument, the chapter suggests that we should move from a conception of crisis as something that is purely external to populism, to one that acknowledges the performance of crisis as an internal feature of populism as conceptualised as a political style.

Keywords:   populism, crisis, performance, leadership, the people, the elite, immigration, media, mediation, GFC

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