Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN32_09a: Examining Populism (II)
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Gabriella Szabó, Centre for Social Sciences
Location: GM.338
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Populist Discourse on Political Representation: Case Study of Lithuania

Jogile Ulinskaite

Vilnius University, Lithuania

If populism is understood as expressions of the peoples' will and of an antagonism between the people and the elite (Mudde, 2004), a direct unmediated link between representatives and represented is implied. Nevertheless, classical (Pitkin) as well as contemporary (Lefort, Ankersmit, Urbinati) studies of political representation claim that the distance between represented and the representatives is necessary for political representation. Moreover, populist political parties participate in the process of political representation through political elections. Therefore, it becomes especially relevant to consider how populist political parties understand and define political representation. An empirical study has been conducted on Lithuanian populist political parties' interpretation and definition of political representation. Research data consists of party election manifestos of 2016 and articles on populist parties' websites (period of April 2016-September 2017). The analysis focuses on how populist political parties interpret and define who are to be represented and who are to represent. The empirical research reveals that the populist political parties attempt to both avoid and to improve political representation. On one hand, their conception of political representation is partly in line with the principles of party representation. On the other hand, they define representation through references to common moral values, professionalism and constant communication. These three measures are aimed at creating a common political identity between and the represented and themselves. Common political identity “resolves” the distance between represented and the representatives.

Superordinate Intersectionality - Putting Identity Politics in the Study of Right-wing Populism

Ov Cristian Norocel

Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

From the US to the northernmost corners of Europe, right-wing populism is making deep inroads into the mainstream political landscape. Despite a flourishing scholarship on the topic, to date there are few explanations concerning the intricate workings of right-wing populist paradoxes: privileged white politicians (mainly men) proclaiming themselves the true voices of white working class (men and women) against the remote and corrupt elites that open the national borders to threatening migrant Other (men) and endanger the cultural (and racial) distinctiveness of their nation in the name of globalization. With this in mind, the present contribution aims to bring identity politics in the study of right-wing populism, and argues in favor of superordinate intersectionality as an analytical perspective to address these paradoxes in examining right-wing populist discourses. Such an approach scrutinizes the interactions between several axes of difference and inequality: gender (masculinities); social class (elites); and race (whitenesses). These theoretical articulations are illustrated with examples from the US, as well as from Europe.

Why No Populism in Portugal? Lessons from Lisbon

Filipe Carreira da Silva

Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

This paper proposes a new approach to populism as a logic of social and political action - the logic of resentment. This logic is taken to help organise contents (ideology, discourse, forms of mobilisation, etc.) in a distinctive manner by pitting one part of the people against another part in the name of a future, reconstituted "people". Methodologically, Portugal is conceived of as a negative case. Our argument is that the performative articulation of the populist logic of resentment by Portuguese political agents failed to translate into electoral success between 2011-2015, the same period in which Podemos in neighbouring Spain achieved its most significant electoral results, has a lot to do with local politics in the capital, Lisbon. Long run by a broad left-wing coalition, soon to be replicated at the national level (the PM is the former Lisbon mayor), Lisbon can be seen as functioning as a political and social antidote to the politics of resentment that fuel populism.

How do Transnational Populist Parties and Leaders frame External and Internal EU Borders?

Christian Lamour

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Luxembourg

The construction of the EU is based on the freedom of movements. It has supposed a physical de-bordering process within the EU while a policy of bordering has been conceived for the external border of Europe. The representatives of populist parties have been at the forefront of territorial re-bordering policy aiming at protecting a “pure people” threatened by a so-called “global elite” and multiple external flows. Yet, there has been little academic attention paid to the border as a material and discursive resource used by populist parties and leaders to shape a transnational agenda. The goal of this contribution is to address transnational populism in Europe by focusing on state borders. We might expect different discourse by populist representatives depending on the type of flows crossing the borders, the origin and destination of these flows and the scale at which the state territorial border is considered. Populist leaders such as Viktor Orbán can share the league of leagues for the defense of borders manifesto proposed by Salvini when they consider the current “Migrants crisis”. They can collectively built-up a pan-European populism on a Fortress Europe agenda. They can also collectively worry about the closure of some internal borders of the EU for their fellow citizens as proved with the current Brexit situation. Furthermore, they can see potentially negatively cross-border political initiatives taken by some of them putting at stake the territorial integrity of their respective state such as for instance the decision of Viktor Orbán to give the Hungarian citizenry to the Hungarian communities living in neighboring countries. There is a need to investigate the importance of state-border in the definition of pan-European populism.