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Democracy's Paradox: Populism and its Contemporary Crisis

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Volume 18

Critical Interventions: A Forum for Social Analysis

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Democracy's Paradox

Populism and its Contemporary Crisis

Edited by Dimitrios Theodossopoulos and Bruce Kapferer

100 pages, 4in x 7in, bibliog.

ISBN  978-1-78920-155-0 $14.95/£10.95 Pb Not Yet Published (February 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-156-7 eBook Not Yet Published

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Does populism indicate a radical crisis in Western democratic political systems? Is it a revolt by those who feel they have too little voice in the affairs of state or are otherwise marginalized or oppressed? Or are populist movements part of the democratic process?

Bringing together different anthropological experiences of current populist movements, this volume makes a timely contribution to these questions. Contrary to more conventional interpretations of populism as crisis, the authors instead recognize populism as integral to Western democratic systems. In doing so, the volume provides an important critique that exposes the exclusionary essentialisms spread by populist rhetoric while also directing attention to local views of political accountability and historical consciousness that are key to understanding this paradox of democracy.

Dimitrios Theodossopoulos is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Kent. He is the author of two ethnographic monographs: Troubles with Turtles (2003), and Exoticisation Undressed (2016); and the editor of multiple collections.

Bruce Kapferer is Honorary Professor University College London and Professor Emeritus, University of Bergen, where he is Director of the Egalitarianism Project supported by an ERC Advanced Grant. Has published widely on South Asia, Africa and Australia where he has done extensive anthropological fieldwork.

Subject: General Anthropology Theory & Methodology in Anthropology


Introduction: Populism and its Paradox
Bruce Kapferer and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

Chapter 1. From “The People” to “The Citizens”: The Possibilities and Limitations of Populist Discourse in Argentina
Victoria Goddard

Chapter 2. The Brazilian Crisis and the Ghosts of Populism
John Gledhill

Chapter 3. Lurching between Consensus and Chaos: Shades of Populism in Australian Indigenous Policy
Melinda Hinkson and Jon Altman

Chapter 4. Populism’s Claims: The Struggle between Privilege and Equality
Susana Narotzky

Chapter 5. How Populism Works
Michael Herzfeld

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