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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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Populism and Democracy

Populism and Democracy

(p.133) 8 Populism and Democracy
The Global Rise of Populism

Benjamin Moffitt

Stanford University Press

This chapter tackles one of the most controversial debates when it comes to populism: what is populism’s relationship to democracy? Arguing that populism itself tells us very little about the substantive democratic ‘content’ of any political project, the chapter undoes the strict binary between populism and democracy that is often invoked in the literature by instead examining both the democratic and anti-democratic tendencies within populism as conceptualised as a political style. In doing so, it shows that these tendencies can operate concurrently, with populists flaunting their democratic tendencies at the same time as undoing democratic guarantees. Overall, it demonstrates that questions about populism’s relationship to democracy should not always be taken at face value, as they often conceal larger questions about what constitutes ‘correct’ or ‘legitimate’ forms of political practice.

Keywords:   populism, democracy, liberal democracy, radical democracy, democratic theory, the political, inclusion, exclusion, corruption, authoritarianism

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