Populism and 'unpolitics'

Taggart, Paul (2018) Populism and 'unpolitics'. In: Fitzi, Gregor, Mackert, Juergen and Turner, Bryan (eds.) Populism and the crisis of democracy. Routledge Advances in Sociology, 1 . Routledge, London, pp. 79-87. ISBN 9781138091368

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There is a now an extensive body of scholarship, both conceptual and empirical, that uses populism as an ideology. While we have some convergence here, and it is a welcome convergence, the elements that make up that consensus have omitted and elided over the relationship of populism to politics. This chapter argues that we need to re-insert a fuller sense of populism’s relationship to politics into the definition of populism. To do this, I suggest that populism has, at its core, an implicit assertion of what I will term ‘unpolitics’. And it is the confrontation of this unpolitics with the functioning of representative politics that makes populism so potent and so provocative to contemporary representative democracy. First, I offer a literature review to try and back up the case that the element of politics has dropped out of the consideration of populism. The chapter then offers a definition of unpolitics that contrasts it with other related concepts, and then the chapter considers three different implications of unpolitics for populism relating to populism's tropes of conspiracy theories, quasi-religious parallels and war metaphors.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Populism
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General) > JA0071 Theory. Relation to other subjects
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Depositing User: Paul Taggart
Date Deposited: 24 May 2018 13:50
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2020 01:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/76082

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