Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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‘Populism’ has become ever more ubiquitous in political analysis, to the extent that ‘populism studies’ appears on course to establishing itself as a field of research in its own right. This article warns about the dangers of such a development. Taking a discourse theoretical approach as our starting point – but also critically engaging with this tradition’s contribution to the hype about populism – we suggest that ‘populism studies’ (and the preoccupation with populism this field embodies) risks reifying populism by focusing on populism as a ‘as such’, and through an over-reliance on the of populism to approach that phenomenon. This, we argue, hampers a nuanced and contextualized understanding of the exact role populism plays in different populist politics. This is not a call for abandoning the concept of populism altogether, but a call for de-centring the concept and for moving beyond academia’s ‘populist moment’.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse theory; populism; populism studies
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