AskDefine | Define populism

Dictionary Definition

populism n : the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite

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  1. A political doctrine or philosophy that proposes that the rights and powers of ordinary people are exploited by a privileged elite, and supports their struggle to overcome this.


a political doctrine or philosophy

Extensive Definition

Populism is a discourse which supports "the people" versus "the elites". Populism may involve either a political philosophy urging social and political system changes and/or a rhetorical style, deployed by members of political or social movements competing for advantage within the existing party system.

Academic definitions

Academic and scholarly definitions of populism vary widely. "To each his own definition of populism, according to the academic axe he grinds," wrote Peter Wiles in Populism: Its Meanings and National Characteristics (1969), the first major comparative study of populism by Ernest Gellner and Ghita Ionescu. In fact, among both journalists and scholars, the term is often employed in loose, inconsistent and undefined ways to denote appeals to ‘the people’, ‘demagogy’ and ‘catch-all’ politics or as a receptacle for new types of parties whose classification observers are unsure of. Another factor held to diminish the value of ‘populism’ in some societies is that, as Margaret Canovan notes in her 1981 study, unlike labels such as ‘conservative’ or ‘socialist’, the meanings of which have been ‘chiefly dictated by their adherents’, contemporary populists rarely call themselves ‘populists’ and usually reject the term when it is applied to them by others . Exceptions to this pattern of pejorative usage exist (for example in the United States), but it is debated whether this is due to the memories and traditions of earlier democratic movements (e.g. farmers' movements, New Deal reform movements, and the civil rights movement) that were often called and called themselves populist or whether this is because of linguistic confusions of populism with terms such as "popular" .
In recent years, scholars have made advances in defining the term in ways which can be profitably employed in research and that can also help clarify the origins of such differences. One of the latest of these is the definition by Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell who, in their volume Twenty-First Century Populism, define populism as pitting "a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity and voice" .
Recent scholarship has also discussed populism as a rhetorical style; as such, the term "populist" may be applied to proponents of widely varying political philosophies. Leaders of populist movements in recent decades have claimed to be on both the left and the right of the political spectrum, while some populists claim to be neither "left wing," "centrist" nor "right wing."
A third group of recent scholars beginning with Lawrence Goodwyn’s Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America argues that populism is a “movement politics” of organizing for popular empowerment or civic agency -- the capacities of ordinary people to be architects and agents of their lives, shapers of their communities and the larger world, and collaborators with others from diverse backgrounds on common challenges . This organizing for civic agency necessarily includes many elements beyond formal political parties such as cooperatives, community organizations, trade unions, and popular adult educational and cultural activity. Scholars writing about European populist movements in this vein have described connections between populism and Scandinavian folk schools or folkbildning. Harry Boyte and other scholars in this tradition have traced connections between the populist farmers’ movement of the late nineteenth century, the “popular front” movement of the New Deal, the Southern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and recent examples of community organizing descended from the self-declared populist Saul Alinsky. Such scholars also argue that intellectual and scholarly criticism of populism is often rooted in "Enlightenment rationalism" and a growing separation of professional and intellectual classes from the culture and lives of common people.
Leaders of populist movements have variously tried to stand up to corporate power, remove "corrupt" elites, fight for the "poor people of the country", "put people first," and "build a cooperative commonwealth." By its very nature, Populism incorporates anti-regime politics at a time when it asserts it is due. Because populism motivates people to oppose a ruling class, it has sometimes been maligned and used as a tool by some regimes in combination with nationalism, jingoism, racism or religious fundamentalism,
Often populist movements employ dichotomous rhetoric, and claim to represent the majority of the people. Many populists appeal to a specific region of a country or to a specific social class, such as the working class, middle class, or farmers or simply "the poor".

Styles and methods

Populism is characterized by a sometimes radical critique of the status quo, but on the whole does not have a strong ideological identity as either a left-wing or right-wing movement. Some scholars argue that populist politics as organizing for empowerment represents the return of older "Aristotelean" politics of horizontal interactions among equals who are different, for the sake of public problem solving . Populism has taken left-wing, right-wing, and even centrist forms, as well as forms of politics that bring together groups and individuals of diverse partisan views. In recent years, conservative United States politicians have begun adopting populist rhetoric; for example, telling people to stand up to "the powerful trial lawyer lobby," "the liberal elite," or "the Hollywood elite." Also in recent years, "left-wing" United States politicians have increasingly begun adopting populist rhetoric; the use of the term "two Americas" in the 2004 Presidential Democratic Party campaign of John Edwards is an example of an attempt to employ Populist themes to persuade voters. In some contrast to both, Barack Obama, whose references to popular empowerment may reflect his experiences as a community organizer in one of the schools of organizing (the Gamaliel Foundation) descended from the late Saul Alinsky, also articulates populist themes.
Populists are seen by some politicians as a largely democratic and positive force in society, even while a wing of scholarship in political science contends that populist mass movements are irrational and introduce instability into the political process. Margaret Canovan argues that both these polar views are faulty, and has defined two main branches of modern populism worldwide — agrarian and political — and mapped out seven disparate sub-categories:
Agrarian Political
  • Populist democracy, including calls for more political participation through reforms such as the use of popular referendums.
  • Politicians' populism marked by non-ideological appeals for "the people" to build a unified coalition.
  • Reactionary populism, such as the white backlash harvested by George Wallace.
  • Populist dictatorship, such as that established by Getulio Vargas in Brazil.

Right-wing Populism and Fascism

Right-wing populist movements can be a precursor for, and building blocks of fascist movements. Conspiracist scapegoating employed by various populist movements can create “a seedbed for fascism.”
National socialist populism interacted with and facilitated fascism in interwar Germany.. In this case, distressed middle–class populists during the pre-Nazi Weimar period mobilized their anger at government and big business. The Nazis "parasitized the forms and themes of the populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through ideological appeals involving demagoguery, scapegoating, and conspiracism". According to Fritzsche:
The Nazis expressed the populist yearnings of middle–class constituents and at the same time advocated a strong and resolutely anti-Marxist mobilization....Against “unnaturally” divisive parties and querulous organized interest groups, National Socialists cast themselves as representatives of the commonwealth, of an allegedly betrayed and neglected German public....[b]reaking social barriers of status and caste, and celebrating at least rhetorically the populist ideal of the people’s community...

History in Europe

Classical Populism

The word populism is derived from the Latin word populus, which means people in English (in the sense of "nation," as in: "The Roman People" (populus Romanus), not in the sense of "multiple individual persons" as in: "There are people visiting us today"). Therefore, populism espouses government by the people as a whole (that is to say, the masses). This is in contrast to elitism, aristocracy, or plutocracy, each of which is an ideology that espouse government by a small, privileged group above the masses.
Populism has been a common political phenomenon throughout history. Spartacus could be considered a famous example of a populist leader of ancient times through his slave rebellion against the rulers of Ancient Rome. In fact, such leaders of the Roman Republic as Gaius Marius, Julius Caesar, and Caesar Augustus were called populares, as all used referendums to go over the Roman Senate's head and establish the laws that they saw fit.

Early modern period

The same conditions which contributed to the outbreak of the English Revolution of 1642-1651, also known as the English Civil War, also led to a proliferation of ideologies and political movements among peasants, self-employed artisans, and working class people in England. Many, possibly most, of these groups had a dogmatic Protestant religious bent. They included Puritans and the Levellers.

Religious revival

Romanticism, the anxiety against rationalism, broadened after the beginnings of the European and Industrial Revolutions because of cultural, social, and political insecurity. Romanticism led directly into a strong popular desire to bring about religious revival, nationalism and populism. The ensuing religious revival eventually blended into political populism and nationalism, becoming at times a single entity, and a powerful force of public will for change. The paradigm shift brought about was marked by people looking for security and community because of a strong emotional need to escape from anxiety and to believe in something larger than themselves.
The revival of religiosity all over Europe played an important role in bringing people to populism and nationalism.

Rejection of ultramontanism

Chateaubriand's beginning brought about two Catholic Revivals in France: first, a conservative revival led by Joseph de Maistre, which defended ultramontanism, also known as the supremacy of the Pope in the church, and a second populist revival led by Felicite de Lamennais, an excommunicated priest. This religious populism opposed ultramontanism and emphasized a church community dependent upon all of the people, not just the elite. Furthermore, it stressed that church authority should come from the bottom-up and that the church should alleviate suffering, not merely accept it, both principles that gave the masses strength.

Various countries

Latin America

Populism has been an important force in Latin American political history (see José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia). In Latin America, many charismatic leaders have emerged since the 20th century, such as Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, Getúlio Vargas, Lázaro Cárdenas, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Domingo Perón, Abdala Bucaram and recently Alan Garcia, Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Joaquin Balaguer, Fernando Lugo and Néstor Kirchner.


Populism in Latin America has been traced by some to concepts taken from Perón's Third Position. Populist practitioners in Latin America usually adapt politically to the prevailing mood of the nation, moving within the ideological spectrum from left to right many times during their political lives. Latin American countries have not always had a clear and consistent political ideology under populism. Most of these countries cannot be as clearly and easily divided between liberals and conservatives, as in the U.S.A., or between social-democrats and Christian-democrats as in European countries. Nevertheless, the more recent pattern that has emerged in Latin American populists has been decidedly socialist populism that appeals to masses of poor by promising redistributive policies and state control of the nation's energy companies.
Populism has been fiscally supported in Latin America during periods of growth such as the 1950s and 1960's and during commodity price booms such as in oil and precious metals. Political leaders could gather followers among the popular classes with broad redistributative programs during these boom times. Populism in Latin America has been sometimes criticized for the fiscal policies of many of its leaders, but has also been defended for having allowed historically weak states to buy off disorder and achieve a tolerable degree of stability while initiating large-scale industrialization. Thus though specific populist fiscal and monetary policies may be criticized by economic historians, populism has also allowed leaders and parties to co-opt the radical ideas of the masses so as to redirect them in a non revolutionary direction.
Often adapting a nationalist vocabulary and rhetorically convincing, populism was used to appeal to broad masses while remaining ideologically ambivalent. Notwithstanding, there have been notable exceptions. 21st Century Latin-American populist leaders have had a decidedly socialist bent.
When populists do take strong positions on economic philosophies such as capitalism versus socialism, the position sparks strong emotional responses regarding how best to manage the nation's current and future social and economic position. Mexico's 2006 Presidential election was hotly debated within Mexicans who supported and opposed populist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador.


Thus populism in Latin American countries has both an economic and an ideological edge. The situation is similar in many countries with the legacies of poor and low-growth economies: highly unequal societies in which people are divided between a relative few wealthy families and masses of poor (with some exceptions such as Argentina, where strong and educated middle classes are a significant segment of the population).
Other perspectives trace inequality to the formation of Latin America's governments and institutions, which were shaped by the Spanish crown upon the conquest of the Americas by the Spaniards. Latin America was not meant to be a colony for the settlers to live in and develop, like the United States, but a source of resources for the Spanish crown. After the nations obtained their independence, many colonial legacies survived.
Populists can be very successful political candidates in such countries. In appealing to the masses of poor people prior to gaining power, populists may promise widely-demanded food, housing, employment, basic social services, and income-redistribution. Once in political power, they may not always be financially or politically able to fulfill all these broad promises. However, they are very often successful in stretching to provide many broad and basic services.

Economics debate on populism and socialist populism

In Mexico, Brazil and Argentina in a relatively short period of time, populist leaders were perceived to have delivered more to their lower class constituents than previous governments. Critics of populist policies point to the infamous consequences of spending and lack of reform on these countries' respective finances involving growing debt, pressured currencies, and hyperinflation, which in turn led to high interest rates, low growth, and debt crisis. The 1980s in Latin America became referred to as a lost decade during which the region experienced low economic growth and few if any reductions in poverty while the Asian Tigers have been consistently developing through high rates of savings, investments, and educational achievements. Supporters of past economic policies would point to the uncontrollable economic consequences of high oil prices to much of the world economy during the 1970s and the unanticipated fall in commodity prices that would later complicate financing past spending.
Reacting to the legacy of the debt-crisis and slow growth during the 1980s, many Latin American governments privatized state-owned enterprises, such as electricity and telecommunications during the wave of privatizations that occurred in those countries in the 1990s, and opened to trade. This has also been done outside Latin American from Britain and the U.S. (during the Margaret Thatcher/Ronald Reagan years) to Russia and China's (accelerating economic liberalization during the 1990s) to speed economic growth and employment.
Populists with socialist bents maintain clear support in many cases.
In the Argentinian Corralito crisis, the government was forced to withdraw after three days of popular riots. In Mexico, tortilla price increases have sparked protests demanding price-controls which the leadership instead handled with a gentleman's agreement with major manufacturers capping prices for a fixed time period.
The economic debate continues as reforms to weak and closed Latin American economies opened up to external shocks and competition such as through privatizations and NAFTA in Mexico and other trade agreements and privatizations throughout Latin America. While orthodox economics point to longer term gains for quickly modernizing countries like Chile, slower moving countries have considered retracting from the initial shocks. Some blame a "neo-liberal" economic model favored by an unpopular US government. The "neo-liberal" name, along with the "Washington consensus" have been used to criticize harsh economic policies on the one hand, and on the other hand some have used to demonize modern economic science and policies by tying them directly to the unpopular U.S. government which faces widespread distrust in Latin America. Indeed throughout the world, orthodox economists generally agree that the older socialist policies favored by many populists have hindered Latin American economies and that today further neo-liberal economic reforms would be needed to compete in the international arena for more jobs and faster growth. Support for socialism continues within economic circles that rely on pro-socialist works such as "Whither Socialism" by Stiglitz.

US policy

US international policies have intervened in Latin American governments in many occasions where populism has threatened its interests: the interventions in Guatemala, when the populist Arbenz government was overthrown by a coup backed by the American company United Fruit and the American ambassador in 1954, and Augusto Pinochet's Chilean coup in 1973 are just two cases of American intervention. Daniel Ortega's Sandinista government in Nicaragua was also viewed as a threat to US foreign policy during the Cold War, leading the United States to place an embargo on trade with the Sandinista's Soviet-sponsored regime as well as support anti-Sandinista rebels.

Strength and current socialist tendency

Populism has nevertheless remained a significant force in Latin America. Populism has recently been re-appearing on the far left with promises of far-reaching socialist changes as seen in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. These socialist changes have included policies nationalizing energy companies such as oil, and consolidation of power into the hands of the President so as to enable a socialist "transformation." The Venezuelan government often spars verbally with the United States and accuses it of attempting to overthrow its president Hugo Chavez after supporting a failed coup against him. Chavez himself has been one of the most outspoken and blunt critics of U.S. foreign policy. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan and U.S. governments continue to rely on each other for oil sales from Venezuela to the United States.
In the 21st century, the large numbers of voters in extreme poverty in Latin America have remained a bastion of support for new populist candidates. Populist candidates have been defeated in middle-income countries such as Peru and Mexico, in part by comparing them to Venezuela's controversial Hugo Chavez, whose socialist policies have been used to scare the growing middle classes and who verbally criticized and belittled the popular Mexican president Vicente Fox. Nevertheless, populist candidates have been more successful in poorer Latin American countries such as Bolivia (under Morales), Ecuador (under Correa), and Nicaragua (under Ortega).
Wherever governments in Latin America maintain high rates of poverty and yet support unpopular privatizations and more orthodox economic policies without quickly delivering gains to enough people, they will continue to come under pressure from populist politicians who accuse them of focusing on securing more benefits for the upper and upper-middle classes rather than the people as represented by those in poverty and extreme poverty, and for being allied to foreign and business interests.


In Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's candidacy sparked very emotional debates throughout the country regarding policies that affect ideology, class, equality, wealth, and society. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's most controversial economic policies included his promise to expand monthly stipends to the poor and elderly from Mexico City to the rest of the country and to re-negotiate NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to protect the Mexican poor. The ruling party in Mexico, known as the PAN (Spanish acronym for the National Action Party) portrayed him as a danger to Mexico's hard-earned economic stability. In criticizing his redistributive promises that would create new entitlement programs somewhat similar to social security in the US (though not as broad in scope) and his trade policies that would not fully uphold prior agreements (such as NAFTA), the economic debate between capitalists and socialists became a major part of the debate. The PAN candidate portrayed himself as not just a standard-bearer for recent economic policy, but rather more fully as a more pro-active candidate so as to distance himself from the main criticisms of his predecessor Vicente Fox regarding inaction. He labeled himself the "jobs president" and promised greater national wealth for all through steady future growth, fiscal prudence, international trade, and balanced government spending. During the immediate aftermath of the tight elections in which the country's electoral court was hearing challenges to the vote tally that had Calderon winning, Obrador showed the considerable influence over the masses that are a trademark of populist politicians. He effectively led huge demonstrations filling the central plaza with masses of sympathizers who supported his challenge. The demonstrations lasted for several months and eventually dissipated after the electoral court did not find sufficient cause from the challenges presented to overturn the results.

Russia and the former Soviet Union

The Narodnichestvo movement in Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century could be described as a populist movement.


Like Latin America populism in Africa has been an important force in African political, and many charismatic leaders have emerged, such as Gamal Abdel Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah, Abd el-Krim, Patrice Lumumba, John Langalibalele Dube, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Nelson Mandela, Sol Plaatje, Walter Sisulu, Desmond Tutu,Oliver Tambo, Steve Biko, Govan Mbeki, Robert Mugabe, and John Garang.

Middle East

Populism played a big role in Middle East in 20th century, and many populist leaders emerged such as : Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Abd el-Krim, Mohammad Mossadegh and Gamal Abdel Nasser.

United States of America

The United States saw the formation of populist political parties during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In the late 1880s and early 1890s, a populist movement began which called for, among other things, a graduated income tax (there was no income tax at the time). They also wanted the government to own railroad and communications systems, such as telegraphs and telephones. At the founding convention of the Populist Party, many of the Ocala Demands were adopted. The platform demanded that senators be elected directly, a secret ballot, the abolishment of the Pinkerton System, Presidential term limits and abolishment of government subsidies to corporations and businesses. They were also against immigration, saying that immigrants were a burden on taxpayers such as themselves.
Later there was the Greenback Party, the Single Tax movement of Henry George, the Progressive Party of 1912 led by Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party of 1924 led by Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and the Share Our Wealth movement of Huey Long in 1933-35. Some left-wing populist parties advocated socialism, while other populists rejected both socialism and capitalism, notably Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. George Wallace of Alabama led a populist movement that carried five states and won 13.5% of the popular vote in the 1968 presidential election. Campaigning against intellectuals and liberal reformers, Wallace gained a large share of the white working class vote in Democratic primaries in 1972.
Populism continues to be a force in modern U.S. politics, especially in the 1992 and 1996 third-party presidential campaigns of billionaire Ross Perot. The 1996, 2000 and the 2004 presidential campaigns of Ralph Nader had a strong populist cast. The 2004 campaigns of Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton also had populist elements. The 2004 and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has been described by many (and by himself) as a populist.
Comparison between earlier surges of Populism and those of today are complicated by shifts in what are thought to be the interests of the common people. Jonah Goldberg and others argue that in modern society, fractured as it is into myriad interest groups and microgroups, any attempt to define the interests of the "average person" will be so general as to be useless.
Over time, there have been several versions of a Populist Party in the United States, inspired by the People's Party of the 1890s. This was the party of the early U.S. populist movement in which millions of farmers and other working people successfully enacted their anti-trust agenda.
In 1984, the Populist Party name was revived by Willis Carto, and was used in 1988 as a vehicle for the presidential campaign of former Ku Klux Klan leader, and later member of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, David Duke. Right-wing Patriot movement organizer Bo Gritz was briefly Duke's running mate. This maligned incarnation of Populism was widely regarded as a vehicle for white supremacist recruitment. In this instance, populism was maligned using a definition of "the people" which was not the prevailing definition.
Another populist mechanism was the initiative and referendum driven term-limits movement of the early 1990s. In every state where the people were able to bypass the established power structure and put term-limits on the ballot, the measure to limit incumbency in Congress passed. The average margin of victory was 67%, giving this populist insurgency a landslide by American electoral standards. It was fitting, perhaps, that the unelected, irremovable, life-tenured U.S. Supreme Court would be the agent of resistance, in 1995 striking down all the congressional term limits enacted by the people. U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton.
In 1995, the Reform Party (RPUSA) was organized after the populist presidential campaign of Ross Perot in 1992. In the year 2000, an intense fight for the presidential nomination made Patrick J. Buchanan the RPUSA standbearer. Since then the party's fortunes have markedly declined.
In the 2000s, new populist parties were formed in America, including the Populist Party of Maryland, which ran candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate and state delegate in the 2006 elections, Populist Party of America in 2002, and the American Populist Renaissance in 2005. The American Moderation Party, also formed in 2005, adopted several populist ideals, chief among them working against multinational neo-corporatism.
Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) was elected in 2006 over incumbent George Allen. Webb held prominent offices in the Republican party during the 1980s, but became a Democrat in part because in his opinion, as he stated in a January 2007 NPR interview, the Democratic party seemed more aligned to his populist beliefs. This illustrates that populism can and does span the American political spectrum.



  • Fichte began the development of nationalism by stating that people have the ethical duty to further their nation.
  • Herder proposed an organic nationalism that was a romantic vision of individual communities rejecting the Industrial Revolution's model communities, in which people acquired their meaning from the nation. This is a philosophy reminiscent of subsidiarity.
  • The Brothers Grimm collected German folklore to "gather the Teutonic spirit" and show that these tales provide the common values necessary for the historical survival of a nation.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, a Lutheran Minister, a professor at the University of Berlin and the "father of gymnastics," introduced the Volkstum, a racial nation that draws on the essence of a people that was lost in the Industrial Revolution.
  • Adam Mueller went a step further by positing the state as a bigger totality than the government institution. This paternalistic vision of aristocracy concerned with social orders had a dark side in that the opposite force of modernity was represented by the Jews, who were said to be eating away at the state.


In France, the populist and nationalist picture was more mystical and metaphysical in nature.
  • Historian Jules Michelet fused nationalism and populism by positing the people as a mystical unity who are the driving force of history in which the divinity finds its purpose. For Michelet, in history, that representation of the struggle between spirit and matter, France has a special place because the French became a people through equality, liberty, and fraternity. Because of this, he believed, the French people can never be wrong. Michelet's ideas are not socialism or rational politics, and his populism always minimizes, or even masks, social class differences.
  • In the late 18th century, the French Revolution, though led by wealthy intellectuals, could also be described as a manifestation of populist sentiment against the elitist excesses and privileges of the Ancien Régime.
  • Jean Marie Le Pen can be characterized as right-wing populist.





  • Albertazzi, Daniele and Duncan McDonnell. 2007. Twenty-First Century Populism: The Spectre of Western European Democracy Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 023001349X ISBN 978-0230013490
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  • Boggs, Carl. 1982.“The New Populism and the Limits of Structural Reform,” Theory and Society Vol. 12:3 (May)
  • Boggs, Carl. 1986. Social Movements and Political Power: Emerging Forms of Radicalism in the West. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Boyte, Harry. C. and Frank Riessman, Eds. 1986. The New Populism: THe Politics of Empowerment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Boyte, Harry C. 1989. CommonWealth: A Return to Citizen Politics. New York: Free Press.
  • Boyte, Harry C. 2004. Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Boyte, Harry C. 2007. "Populism and John Dewey: Convergences and Contradictions," Seventh Annual University of Michigan Dewey Lecture.
  • Brass, Tom. 2000. Peasants, Populism and Postmodernism: The Return of the Agrarian Myth London: Frank Cass Publishers.
  • Coles, Rom. 2006. "Of Tensions and Tricksters: Grassroots Democracy Between Theory and Practice,” Perspectives on Politics Vol. 4:3 (Fall), pp. 547-561
  • Canovan, Margaret. 1981. Populism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-173078-4
  • Denning, Michael.1997. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century. London: Verso.
  • Emibayer, Mustafa and Ann Mishe. 1998.“What is Agency?” American Journal of Sociology Vol. 103:4, pp. 962-1023
  • Grieder, William. 1993. Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy. Simon % Schuster.
  • Khoros, Vladim1r. 1984. Populism: Its Past, Present and Future. Moscow: Progress Publishers.
  • Kling, Joseph M. and Prudence S. Posner. 1990. Dilemmas of Activism. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press.
  • Laclau, Ernesto. 2005. On Populist Reason. London: Verso
  • Rupert, Mark. 1997. “Globalization and the Reconstruction of Common Sense in the US.” In Innovation and Transformation in International Studies, S. Gill and J. Mittelman, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, online at (2 September 2002).
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  • Fritzsche, Peter. 1990. Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505780-5
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United States

  • Berlet, Chip and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-568-1, ISBN 1-57230-562-2
  • Dobratz, Betty A, and Stephanie L. Shanks–Meile. 1988. “The Contemporary Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party: A Comparison to American Populism at the Turn of the Century.” Humanity and Society, 20–50.
  • Evans, Sara M. and Harry C. Boyte. 1986. Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Ferkiss, Victor C. 1957. “Populist Influences on American Fascism.” Western Political Quarterly 10(2):350–73.
  • Fink, Leon. 1983. Workingmen's Democracy: The Knights of Labor and American Politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
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  • Goodwyn, Lawrence. 1978. The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. New York and London: Oxford University Press.
  • Hahn, Steven. 1983. Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850-1890. New York and London: Oxford University Pres
  • Jeffrey, Julie Roy.1975. "Women in the Southern Farmers Alliance: A Reconsideration of the Role and Status of Women in the Late 19th Century South." Feminist Studies 3.
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  • Marable, Manning. 1986. "Black History and the Vision of Democracy," in Harry Boyte and Frank Riessman, Eds., The New Populism: The Politics of Empowerment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Palmer, Bruce. 1980. Man Over Money: The Southern Populist Critique of American Capitalism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Stock, Catherine McNicol. 1996. Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3294-4
  • Rupert, Mary. 1997. “The Patriot Movement and the Roots of Fascism.” Pp. 81-101 in Windows to Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Framing our Field, Susan Allen Nan, et al., eds. Fairfax, Va.: Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
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populism in Hungarian: Populizmus
populism in Macedonian: Популизам
populism in Dutch: Populisme
populism in Japanese: ポピュリズム
populism in Norwegian: Populisme
populism in Norwegian Nynorsk: Populisme
populism in Polish: Populizm
populism in Portuguese: Populismo
populism in Russian: Популизм
populism in Albanian: Popullizmi
populism in Serbian: Популизам
populism in Finnish: Populismi
populism in Swedish: Populism
populism in Turkish: Popülizm
populism in Ukrainian: Популізм
populism in Chinese: 民粹主義
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