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Critical research on populism: Nine rules of engagement

De Cleen, Benjamin and Glynos, Jason and Mondon, Aurelien (2018) 'Critical research on populism: Nine rules of engagement.' Organization, 25 (5). pp. 649-661. ISSN 1350-5084

De Cleen, Glynos & Mondon (2018) Critical Research on Populism - Final Accepted Version - Pre-proof.pdf - Accepted Version

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This article formulates precise questions and ‘rules of engagement’ designed to advance our understanding of the role populism can and should play in the present political conjuncture, with potentially significant implications for critical management and organization studies and beyond. Drawing on the work of Ernesto Laclau and others working within the post-Marxist discourse theory tradition, we defend a concept of populism understood as a form of reason that centres around a claim to represent ‘the people’, discursively constructed as an underdog in opposition to an illegitimate ‘elite’. A formal discursive approach to populism brings with it important advantages. For example, it establishes that a populist logic can be invoked to further very different political goals, from radical left to right, or from progressive to regressive. It sharpens too our grasp of important issues that are otherwise conflated and obfuscated. For instance, it helps us separate out the nativist and populist dimensions in the discourses of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Trump or the Front National (FN). Our approach to populism, however, also points to the need to engage with the rhetoric about populism, a largely ignored area of critical research. In approaching populism as signifier, not only as a concept, we stress the added need to focus on the uses of the term ‘populism’ itself: how it is invoked, by whom, and to what purpose and effect. This, we argue, requires that we pay more systematic attention to anti-populism and ‘populist hype’, and reflect upon academia’s own relation to populism and anti-populism.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: anti-populism; discourse theory; Laclau; political logic; populism; populist hype
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2018 09:35
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:49

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