Providing Legitimacy

To understand the similarities and differences of how populism plays out in different contexts, is to understand the pragmatism of populism. The way in which it plays out in different countries is not fixed, rather it adapts. The articles for this week look at how populism needs to be broken down and disentangled from the idea that it takes the same form in all countries.

David Paternotte and Roman Kuhar look particularity at how anti-gender campaigns are  utilized by populists, and that they should not be conflated together. It is important to look at the use of anti-gender campaigns as a tool used by Populists, but it is not specific to populist movement. That is is used by evangelists, Populists and the left. The way it is used is dependent on the climate in the the region. This is seen particularly in how anti-gender campaigns in Brazil are a result of catholic versus evangelist rhetoric, with less use by populists, contrary to a more Western European use.

Zack Beauchamp’s interview with Cas Mudde, discusses in particular the difference between the conceptualization of nativism between Western Europe and Eastern Europe in the context of Anti-Semitism. Mudded regards nativism as a key element to populism, but is clear in making the distinction, in this case, how in different areas this element of populism is used. That for the heavy influence of Communism following the Second World War illustrates the differences of East and West Populist approaches.

Ina Schmidt looks at the German Pegida movement and how it is, as she calls it, a “hybrid populist movement.” That is had populist foundations, but it also draws elements from the Nouvelle Droite’s concept of ethnopluralism, and the Autonomous Nationalism use of  “patchwork identities,” violence, and media in the group’s mobilization.

An interesting concept that Jan-Werner Müller discuses in his interview on The Dangers of Populism, is the concept of providing legitimacy. That in order for populism to rise, it needed conservative backing. What these reading have then discussed is the importance of the way in which populism rose in particular regions as well as the political and religious climates in these places. That populism is malleable and exists on a spectrum. It is this spectrum that shows the need and desire for providing legitimacy. That this legitimacy is both the similarity and the difference of how populism plays out in different contexts. It does not have to be specifically a conservative backing, rather it is dependent on the region in which it trying to take hold.

One Reply to “Providing Legitimacy”

  1. Your observations on the malleable and sometimes contradictory nature of populism reminded me of right wing populism’s complicated relationship to religion. Most right wing populist movements make claims of secularism, but as demonstrated by David Paternotte and Roman Kuhar, it is not always so simple. Paternotte and Kuhar reveal the way that the use of gender ideology in populist movements in Europe was take from the Roman Catholic Church. They make a clear case for why the Global Right and anti-gender campaigns ought to be distinct, but nonetheless point out that right wing movements are willing to borrow from certain religions thus begging the question: how secular are they really? Maybe secularism is declared as a way to reject Islam which is perceived as discontinuous with national identity. If right wing populist movements are willing to accept the principles of some religions and reject others, we need to again address the question of racism.

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