Seven Essays on PopulismFor a Renewed Theoretical Perspective
Seven Essays on Populism
For a Renewed Theoretical Perspective

This important intervention interrogates keystone features of the dominant European theoretical landscape in the field of populism studies, advancing existing debates and introducing new avenues of thought, in conjunction with insights from the contemporary Latin American political experience and perspectives. In each essay – the title a nod to the influential socialist thinker José Carlos Mariátegui, from whom the authors draw inspiration – leading Argentine scholars Paula Biglieri and Luciana Cadahia pair key dimensions of populism with diverse themes such as modern-day feminism, militancy, and neoliberalism, in order to stimulate discussion surrounding the constitutive nature, goals, and potential of populist social movements.

Biglieri and Cadahia are unafraid to court provocation in their frank assessment of populism as a force which could bring about essential emancipatory social change to confront emerging right-wing trends in policy and leadership. At the same time, this fresh interpretation of a much-maligned political articulation is balanced by their denunciation of right-aligned populisms and their failure to bring to bear a sustainable alternative to contemporary neo-authoritarian forms of neoliberalism. In their place, they articulate a populism which offers a viable means of mobilizing a response to hegemonic forms of neoliberal discourse and government.

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  • March 2021
  • 208 pages
  • 140 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509542208
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509542215
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  • 9781509542222
Table of Contents
Foreword — Wendy Brown


Essay 1. The Secret of Populism

The returns of populism

Modernization, class struggle, and the constitutive dimension of the political

Populism as ontology of the political

Essay 2. Neither Left nor Right: Populism without Apology

Populism, left and right?

 Is all populism right-wing?

Just populism

Populism without apology

Essay 3. Against Neoliberal Fascism: From Sacrificial Identity to Egalitarian Singularity

Is populism a form of neoliberalism?

The prejudices of the anti-communist liberal left

Autonomism: opium of the people

Populism as transitional object?

Populism: antithesis of neoliberalism

Essay 4. Profaning the Public: The Plebeian Dimension of Republican Populism

Is populism anti-institutionalist?

Ruptural institutionality

Plebeian republicanism

Republican populism?

Essay 5. Toward an Internationalist Populism

The beautiful souls of pure causes

The people and its leader

Toward an internationalist populism

Essay 6. The Absent Cause of Populist Militancy

Post-foundationalism and the absence of guarantees

Neither the cemetery nor the madhouse

The three militant questions

Essay 7. We Populists are Feminists

Let’s imagine the future

Feminism without identitarian closure

Populist feminism (or the antagonism of care)

Feminist populism (or the homeland is the other)



About the Author
Paula Biglieri is Professor of Politics at the University of Buenos Aires and at the La Plata National University

Luciana Cadahia is Visiting Professor at Cornell University, and Researcher at FLACSO-Ecuador
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“Debates on populism are currently facing a huge challenge: to move beyond obsolete euro-centric and post-democratic myths and stereotypes. Biglieri and Cadahia demonstrate that a strong comparative angle can greatly assist in this effort and that the Latin American experience is crucial for a much-needed reorientation towards a truly reflexive discussion of populism. Yet, this book cannot be reduced to one more micro-scale social-scientific analysis from a “local” perspective. This is rigorous theoretical reflection & committed democratic argumentation at its best!”
Yannis Stavrakakis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

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