Within the framework of Work Package 1, during the first period or the programme, the POPULISMUS team tracked and studied in detail the international literature that touches upon its subject matter, with particular attention on the following:

  1. The history of populism(s), old and new, and
  2. Theories of populism, as they have been developed within the framework of different disciplines and philosophical traditions.

In particular, the team undertook an exhaustive investigation of existing bibliography on the history of a series of key populist movements, including the Russian Narodniki, US agrarian populism (19th century), populism in Latin America from the mid-20th century onwards, the contemporary populist extreme-right in Europe, as well as the Greek case. At the same time, available literature around contemporary theories of populism was also collected, organized and analyzed: theories that stress the social bases of the phenomenon, those that deal with it as a political style or a type of discourse, referring also to approaches that seem to deny the very possibility of articulating an adequate theory of populism.

A multitude of bibliographical references was investigated (books, scientific articles, electronic sources, etc.). The most important of those references and the contents of their arguments were used in the compilation of an analytical report that was articulated along the following thematic areas:



1.1.   Narodniki: Russian populism and the ‘turn to the people’
1.2.   The american People’s Party and its ‘descendants’: Populism in the capitalist spotlight
1.3.   Latin America: Old and new populisms in the semi-periphery
1.4.   Contemporary European far right, nationalism, differential racism, right-wing radicalism, right-wing populism: Aspects of a complex phenomenon
1.5.   The Greek case: Populism in post-authoritarian Greece



2.1.   The social bases of populism: Transitional context, form of organisation, class structure, movement profile
2.2.   From social base to ideology: Populism and nationalism
2.3.   The degree zero of ideology: Populism as political style
2.4.   From ideology and style to discourse; from the social bases to political logic: The contribution of Ernesto Laclau
2.5.   The denial of theory: Margaret Canovan’s phenomenological typology and its contemporary revival(s)