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Once seen as a fringe phenomenon, populism is back. While some politicians and media outlets present it as dangerous to the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, others hail it as the fix for broken democracies. Not surprisingly, questions about populism abound. Does it really threaten democracy? Why the sudden rise in populism? And what are we talking about when we talk about "populism"? The Global Rise of Populism argues for the need to rethink this concept. While still based on the classic divide between "the people" and "the elite," populism's reliance on new media technologies, its shifting relationship to political representation, and its increasing ubiquity have seen it transform in nuanced ways that demand explaining. Benjamin Moffitt contends that populism is not one entity, but a political style that is performed, embodied, and enacted across different political and cultural contexts. This new understanding makes sense of populism in a time when media pervades political life, a sense of crisis prevails, and populism has gone truly global.
Once seen as a fringe phenomenon, populism is back. While some politicians and media outlets present it as dangerous to the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, others hail it as the fix for broken democracies. Not surprisingly, questions about populism abound. Does it really threaten democracy? Why the sudden rise in populism? And what are we talking about when we talk about "populism"? The Global Rise of Populism argues for the need to rethink this concept. While still based on the classic divide between "the people" and "the elite," populism's reliance on new media technologies, its shifting relationship to political representation, and its increasing ubiquity have seen it transform in nuanced ways that demand explaining. Benjamin Moffitt contends that populism is not one entity, but a political style that is performed, embodied, and enacted across different political and cultural contexts. This new understanding makes sense of populism in a time when media pervades political life, a sense of crisis prevails, and populism has gone truly global.
In the current climate of dissatisfaction with "democratic" Western political and economic systems, this is a timely book that demonstrates a true political Third Way. Populism is distinguished from other political movements by its insistence on two things conspicuously missing from modern systems of political economy: genuine democracy based on local citizen assemblies, and the widespread distribution among the population of privately-owned economic capital. Fixing the System offers a comprehensive historical account of populism, revealing the consistent and distinct history of populism since ancient times. Adrian Kuzminski demonstrates that populism is a tradition of practice as well as thought, ranging from ancient city states to the frontier communities of colonial america-all places where widely distributed private property and democratic decision-making combined to foster material prosperity and cultural innovation. In calling for a wide distribution of both property and democracy, populism opposes the political and economic system found today in the united states and other Western countries, where property remains highly concentrated in private hands and where representatives chosen in impersonal mass elections frustrate democracy by serving private monied interests rather than the public good. As Kuzminski demonstrates, as one of very few systematic alternatives to today's political and economic system, populism, offers a pragmatic program for fundamental social change that deserves wide and serious consideration. Populism is a genuine "third way" in politics, a middle path between the extremes of corporate anarchy and collective authoritarianism. As America takes stock of her current situation and looks toward the future in the 2008 election year, Fixing the System offers a trenchant and timely study of this deep-rooted movement.
Populism raises awkward questions about modern forms of democracy. It often represents the ugly face of the people. It is neither the highest form of democracy nor its enemy. It is, rather, a mirror in which democracy may contemplate itself, warts and all, in a discovery of itself and what it lacks.This definitive collection, edited by one of the worlds pre-eminent authorities on populism, Francisco Panizza, combines theoretical essays with a number of specially commissioned case studies on populist politics in the US, Britain, Canada, Western Europe, Palestine, Latin America and South Africa. A broadly shared understanding of the nature of populism gives the book a coherence rarely found in collective works and enhances the richness of the case studies.
In Scandinavia, there is separation in the electorate between those who embrace diversity and those who wish for tighter bonds between people and nation. This book focuses on three nationalist populist parties in Scandinavia-the Sweden Democrats, the Progress Party in Norway, and the Danish People's Party. In order to affect domestic politics by addressing this conflict of diversity versus homogeneity, these parties must enter the national parliament while earning the nation's trust. Of the three, the Sweden Democrats have yet to earn the trust of the mainstream, leading to polarized and emotionally driven public debate that raises the question of national identity and what is understood as the common man.
The first cross-regional study to show that populism can have both positive and negative effects on democracy.
From the protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square to the Tea Party in the United States to the campaign to elect indigenous leader Evo Morales in Bolivia, modern populist movements command international attention and compel political and social change. When citizens demand "power to the people," they evoke corrupt politicians, imperialists, or oligarchies that have appropriated power from its legitimate owners. These stereotypical narratives belie the vague and often contradictory definitions of the concept of "the people" and the many motives of those who use populism as a political tool. In The Promise and Perils of Populism, Carlos de la Torre assembles a group of international scholars to explore the ambiguous meanings and profound implications of grassroots movements across the globe. These trenchant essays explore how fragile political institutions allow populists to achieve power, while strong institutions confine them to the margins of political systems. Their comparative case studies illuminate how Latin American, African, and Thai populists have sought to empower marginalized groups of people, while similar groups in Australia, Europe, and the United States often exclude people whom they consider to possess different cultural values. While analyzing insurrections in Latin America, advocacy groups in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and populist parties in Asia and Africa, the contributors also pose questions and agendas for further research. This volume on contemporary populism from a comparative perspective could not be more timely, and scholars from a variety of disciplines will find it an invaluable contribution to the literature.

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