Populism as a Political Phenomena and the Challenge of the Modern Democracy

Populism as a Political Phenomena and the Challenge of the Modern Democracy

Glukhova A.V.,

Dr. Sci. (Pol. Sci.), Professor of the Sociology and Political Science Department, Voronezh State University, Voronezh, Russia, avglukhova@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 77250 | ORCID: 0000-0002-3894-3229 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.04.05

For citation:

Glukhova A.V. Populism as a Political Phenomena and the Challenge of the Modern Democracy. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 4. P. 49-68. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.04.05


The article deals with the phenomenon of modern populism, its nature and varieties in terms of the post-modern and “post-democracy” epoch (K. Krauch). These terms are: decline of party system, medialization of politics, and wide promotion of experts using the party membership. The historical roots of modern populism are analyzed, such as demagogic speech practices of tyrants in ancient policies, and structural factors, which influenced the foremost crisis of public pluralism and disintegration of middle class. The author pays particular attention to such major components of populist motions as ideology of polarization (majority vs. minority), criticism of representative institutions, and a bright leader who is able to convert mass dissatisfaction into strategy of mass-mobilization. The author underlines the enormous role of modern mass-media that are capable of influencing the majority to share politics that is not in their interest: the corresponding mass reaction turns out to be irrational. Populism is contesting all indirect forms of political action created by representative government. It seeks to clear the political arena from party activities, filling it with a meaningful narrative, which is often is a retro-nationalism. Personalization of politics is not an accident, but rather a purpose of populism, especially in the case of the strategic use of mass media as a propaganda tool. The article outlines preliminary approaches to a possible typology of populist movements. The danger of radical populism that denies pluralism is noted, due its public discrediting of political institutions. The relevant examples of manifestation of populism are analyzed, such as D. Trump’s election campaign in the USA, and the activity of right populist political forces in European democracies. According to the author, it is important to take into account two kinds of requirements: increasing influence of citizens on the decision-making process and guaranteed opportunities for political participation. On this basis, new models of civic engagement, including advisory democracy, may be created, in which legislative procedures and the decision-making process will be thoroughly consulted with citizens (including online consultations), thereby generating “entry” to the political system, as well as development of expertise for the government and translation of the interests of various groups. 

postmodern; glocalisation; media era; post-democracy; populism; demagogy; plebistsitarizm; retro-nationalism; civil society; consultative democracy.


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