Global Populism : A European Concept ?

Populist movements are not “one size fits all”. The following two examples prove that populism in its global presence is made of complex and intertwined relationships of various elements that each play a part in a greater scheme.

Through the study of the Pegida Movement in Germany  (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident) and how the activists are boxed in different categories, one can deduct that the populist movement in general cannot be define as a homogenous group and that politics and social movements contribute to the amalgamation that most people do about right-wing movements and xenophobia. According to Ina Schmidt, and based on the general definition of populism, practical and ideological categories provide a separate but complementary constructive element to what is considered right-wing activism. On one hand, autonomous nationalism drives the movement with radical demonstrations, violence and an opposition to the politics in place. On the other hand, ethnopluralism which characterizes the ideological standpoint, makes a departure from the former fascist ideology based on race to turn it into culture.

If there is one topic that encompasses the complexity of defining the strict definition of populism, it is the anti-gender campaigns that became more visible in the last ten years and which substantiate the difficulty to categorize movements within ideologies. According to David Paternotte and Roman Kuhar, the term gender ideology itself proves difficult to describe illustrating the main argument that many various groups will focus on one aspect only ( same sex-marriage, reproductive rights or sex and gender education in schools). Adding to the position of the Catholic Church, and potentially a greater audience, populism movements in Europe are easily associated with anti-gender campaigns .

This association although present in many protests, has a different history on a global scale but always uses the same rhetoric of fear. The heavy use of modern media is also a mean to gather more people, which is what populism is based on. But should we make a general assumption about Europe and right-wing movements increasing presence ? Studies have proved that this phenomenon also occurs in Latin America and North America. Can we agree to disagree on the assumption that populism is a one concept ideology, and can we consider that crossovers between different political and cultural institutions or government can alter the strict definition of populism ?

One Reply to “Global Populism : A European Concept ?”

  1. Theses articles definitely showcase the ability of populist movements to change depending on the circumstances within the regions that they develop. David Paternotte and Roman Kuharo do a good job of discussing the complexities of these movements in different region. One thing that they write in particular is about the the use of anti-gender campaigns from the left, I believe that it was in South America. That things that are seen to be exclusive to right-wing populism exist in different areas as well. And I think that it is very fair to say that “crossovers between different political and cultural institutions or government can alter the strict definition of populism.”

    On the topic of modern media in particular, I think that it is also dependent on the region in which it utilized. I think that it is very powerful tool, especially in the context of Populist movements though I think that understanding that it is unfair to say that censorship is the same in every area in which populism rises. This then greatly impacts the reception of populism or the ability to claim that these movements are “one size fits all.”

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