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    Must We Talk about Populism? Interrogating Populism’s Conceptual Utility in a Context of Crisis

    Cannon, Barry (2018) Must We Talk about Populism? Interrogating Populism’s Conceptual Utility in a Context of Crisis. New Political Science, 40 (3). pp. 477-496. ISSN 0739-3148

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    John Gerring identifies eight criteria to help assess the utility of a concept: familiarity, resonance, parsimony, coherence, differentiation, depth, theoretical utility, and field utility. Populism has often been challenged on these despite much work done by scholars to help clarify and sharpen the concept. Nevertheless, three central criticisms persist: the term remains conceptually loose; analysis is often underpinned by an unacknowledged normative bias toward liberal democracy; and, the concept often acts as a label used to sideline challengers to the political status quo, despite crucial differences between these on socio-economic, political, and identity inequalities. Its conceptual utility is therefore questionable as so-called populism displaces the inequalities; particularly, political inequality, which originally engendered the phenomena in the first place. The article concludes by recommending a return to more traditional concepts such as the left/right axis to help redirect debate to more promising lines of inquiry, which can help resolve what I call the “crisis of inequalities.”

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Populism; talk; Interrogating; Populism’s Conceptual Utility; Crisis;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 11942
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Barry Cannon
    Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2019 15:29
    Journal or Publication Title: New Political Science
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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