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The Politics of Popular Identity: Understanding Recent Populist Movements in Sweden and the United States

Westlind, Dennis (1996) In Lund Political Studies 89.
Abstract
While populism and populist politics have been the focus of a wide range of studies in the social sciences, few analyses of populist phenomena have moved beyond the level of simple description. This study has three immediate aims: to critique existing theories of populism, to develop a new, analytical view of populism, and apply this view comparatively to two cases.



This new view of populism emerges from a post-structuralist and post- Marxist critique of Ernesto Laclau's theory of populism. While Laclau's theory is critically scrutinized, it is done so from a position acheived only through the continued development of his and other post-structuralists' work. Populism is defined not by certain characteristics nor by any... (More)
While populism and populist politics have been the focus of a wide range of studies in the social sciences, few analyses of populist phenomena have moved beyond the level of simple description. This study has three immediate aims: to critique existing theories of populism, to develop a new, analytical view of populism, and apply this view comparatively to two cases.



This new view of populism emerges from a post-structuralist and post- Marxist critique of Ernesto Laclau's theory of populism. While Laclau's theory is critically scrutinized, it is done so from a position acheived only through the continued development of his and other post-structuralists' work. Populism is defined not by certain characteristics nor by any specific class base, but is seen as a type of political discourse articulating popular political identity . Populism thus enables individuals to view themselves as part of "the people" and act as such in politics.



Two political campaigns are analyzed according to this view of populism. those of Ross Perot in the 1992 U.S. Presidential election and New Democracy in Sweden's 1991 Riksdag election. In each case the symbolic relationship between the candidate(s) and his/their followers articulated popular political identity. This articulation is found not only in speeches and texts (liguistic discourse), but also in the organizational forms of the movements (non-linguistic discourse). Further study of the discourse of opposition candidates and parties shows that the articulation of popular political identity is central to populism and must be taken into account by those that challenge populist movements. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • unknown], [unknown
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap, Political and administrative sciences, political parties, Ross Perot, New Democracy, United States, Sweden, Marxism, discourse analysis, post-structuralism, post-Marxism, Populism, political theory
in
Lund Political Studies
volume
89
pages
247 pages
publisher
Lund University Press
defense location
Hörsalen, Eden rum 116
defense date
1996-06-04 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN
ISSN
0460-0037
ISBN
91-7966-369-9
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
78becf5d-cfa4-43ec-affc-1c873f8f41f1 (old id 17704)
date added to LUP
2007-05-24 09:03:09
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:54
@phdthesis{78becf5d-cfa4-43ec-affc-1c873f8f41f1,
  abstract     = {While populism and populist politics have been the focus of a wide range of studies in the social sciences, few analyses of populist phenomena have moved beyond the level of simple description. This study has three immediate aims: to critique existing theories of populism, to develop a new, analytical view of populism, and apply this view comparatively to two cases.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
This new view of populism emerges from a post-structuralist and post- Marxist critique of Ernesto Laclau's theory of populism. While Laclau's theory is critically scrutinized, it is done so from a position acheived only through the continued development of his and other post-structuralists' work. Populism is defined not by certain characteristics nor by any specific class base, but is seen as a type of political discourse articulating popular political identity . Populism thus enables individuals to view themselves as part of "the people" and act as such in politics.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Two political campaigns are analyzed according to this view of populism. those of Ross Perot in the 1992 U.S. Presidential election and New Democracy in Sweden's 1991 Riksdag election. In each case the symbolic relationship between the candidate(s) and his/their followers articulated popular political identity. This articulation is found not only in speeches and texts (liguistic discourse), but also in the organizational forms of the movements (non-linguistic discourse). Further study of the discourse of opposition candidates and parties shows that the articulation of popular political identity is central to populism and must be taken into account by those that challenge populist movements.},
  author       = {Westlind, Dennis},
  isbn         = {91-7966-369-9},
  issn         = {0460-0037},
  keyword      = {Statsvetenskap,förvaltningskunskap,Political and administrative sciences,political parties,Ross Perot,New Democracy,United States,Sweden,Marxism,discourse analysis,post-structuralism,post-Marxism,Populism,political theory},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {247},
  publisher    = {Lund University Press},
  series       = {Lund Political Studies},
  title        = {The Politics of Popular Identity: Understanding Recent Populist Movements in Sweden and the United States},
  volume       = {89},
  year         = {1996},
}