Populism is the key political phenomenon of the 21st century. From Trump to Brexit, from Chávez to Podemos, the term has been used to describe leaders, parties and movements across the globe who disrupt the status quo and speak in the name of ‘the people’ against ‘the elite’. Yet the term remains something of a puzzle: poorly understood, vaguely defined and, more often than not, used as a term of abuse.
In this concise and engaging book, leading expert Benjamin Moffitt cuts through this confusion. Offering the first accessible introduction to populism as a core concept in political theory, he maps the different schools of thought on how to understand populism and explores how populism relates to some of the most important concepts at the heart of political debate today. He asks: what has populism got to do with nationalism and nativism? How does it intersect with socialism? Is it compatible with liberalism? And in the end, is populism a good or bad thing for democracy?
This book is essential reading for anyone – from students and scholars to general readers alike – seeking to make sense of one the most important and controversial issues in the contemporary political landscape.
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  • March 2020
  • 170 pages
  • 143 x 221 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509534326
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509534333
  • Open eBook $9.99
  • 9781509534340
Table of Contents

1.   Why Populism Matters

2.   What is Populism?

3.   Populism, Nationalism & Nativism

4.   Populism & Socialism

5.   Populism & Liberalism

6.   Populism & Democracy

About the Author

Benjamin Moffitt is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2019-2021) at the National School of Arts, ACU (Melbourne).

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"Employing a political theory perspective, Moffitt elucidates populism’s affinities and tensions with major left- and right-wing ideologies and develops novel insights into reactionary populists’ opportunistic invocation of liberal values."
Kurt Weyland, University of Texas at Austin 

"The first book to analyse populism in its broader ideological context by relating it to nationalism, socialism, liberalism and democracy, Benjamin Moffitt’s  accessible and concise Populism is essential reading for anyone speaking, thinking or writing about this phenomenon."
Cas Mudde, University of Georgia

"It is undoubtedly the introductory work that I would recommend to those seeking to get a definitive overview of the discipline, equally to undergraduate students and to more experienced scholars. Moffitt’s Populism is an impressive piece of scholarship that is both didactic and ambitious, with the potential to become a standard introduction to the study of populism."
Théo Aiolfi, University of Warwick

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