Populism

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Open University Press, 2000 - History - 128 pages
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Populism is a widely used concept but is rarely fully understood. For a term which appears so frequently in both popular and specialist writing, the social sciences have given it remarkably little attention. In this lively and engaging book, Paul Taggart surveys the field and concludes that populism has suffered from being considered usually in relation to particular contexts and has therefore become a rather fractured and elusive concept in general terms. To remedy this, the author introduces several themes which illuminate populism across different historical and contemporary cases. He provides a new definition of populism, a survey of other definitions and perspectives, and a guide to populist politics around the world, including the United States, Russia, Latin America, Western Europe and Canada. The second part of the book focuses on the problems of populism and how it relates to democracy, particularly to representative politics. Written in an accessible style, this book is essential reading for those with an interest in politics and sociology who are studying political ideas, ideologies and social movements.

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Contents

Introduction
1
Definitions of Populism
10
CASES OF POPULISM
23
The Politics of Movements and Populist Politics in the United States of America
25
To the People Lessons from Russian Populism
46
The Populist Politics of Leadership in Latin America
59
Social Credit in Canada
67
The New Populism
73
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF POPULISM
89
Populism the People and the Heartland
91
Institutional Dilemmas of Populism
99
Populism and Representative Politics
108
Conclusion
115
Bibliography
119
Index
125
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Paul Taggart is a Lecturer in Politics at the School of Social Sciences and Jean Monnet Lecturer in Contemporary European Studies at the Sussex European Institute, University of Sussex. He is author of The New Populism and the New Politics (1996).

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