Populism, Democracy and Authoritarianism
Populist leaders, movements, and parties who claim to represent "the people" (however defined) and challenge political establishments have shaken up the traditional political order in many countries around the world in recent times. Yet, the populist label is loosely applied to a wide range of political phenomena, on both the left- and right-wings of the political establishment. It includes iconic figures as Juan Peron and Hugo Chavez in Latin America, as well as Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini, Beppe Grillo, and Jimmie Akesson in contemporary Europe--not to mention Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the United States. Many followers of such leaders see populism as providing a corrective to flawed or failed representative institutions under democracy. Critics of populism, on the other hand, believe it has intrinsic authoritarian tendencies, and thus see populism as a serious threat to democratic rule.
Students enroll in GOVT 3284.