Volume 16, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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‘Populism’ constitutes one of the most hotly debated topics in contemporary politics and academia. The concept is used to describe a series of heterogeneous phenomena: on the one hand, Donald Trump, BREXIT supporters and the European Far Right in government or in opposition; on the other, Bernie Sanders, the so-called Pink Tide of left-wing populist governments in Latin America and inclusionary populisms in the European South. Recent developments have undoubtedly generated significant research material and a new impetus to the scope and impact of populism research. However, major challenges have also been created, requiring urgent attention. This paper discusses three such challenges (reflexivity, definition, typology) from a discursive perspective. Starting from a double hermeneutic focus on the interaction between academic theorization and political orientation, it highlights the importance of discourse theory in populism research and concludes by formulating a crucial theoretico-political dilemma populism researchers are increasingly facing today.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse; Essex School; populism; reflexivity; typology
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