The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019

Special core: Debating populism

Free article: Contested Issues Surrounding Populism in Public and Academic Debates View

Issue: 
54/2
Publication date: 
06/06/2019

Debating populism

Contested Issues Surrounding Populism in Public and Academic Debates
Bertjan Verbeek and Andrej Zaslove
Populism seems to be a well-established notion in public and academic debate alike. Nevertheless, several issues surrounding populism are still contested and thus merit closer attention. These contested issues encompass the extent to which populism is novel and ubiquitous; the scope of the phenomenon; the merits of the various definitions of populism; its political colour(s); the potential danger it poses to democracy; its appropriateness to govern; as well as populism’s impact beyond national borders.
Keywords: populism, public debate, populist radical right, populist left, populism and democracy, populism and government, populism and foreign policy
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The Global Dimensions of Populist Nationalism
Bertjan Verbeek and Andrej Zaslove
Populism seems to be a well-established notion in public and academic debate alike. Nevertheless, several issues surrounding populism are still contested and thus merit closer attention. These contested issues encompass the extent to which populism is novel and ubiquitous; the scope of the phenomenon; the merits of the various definitions of populism; its political colour(s); the potential danger it poses to democracy; its appropriateness to govern; as well as populism’s impact beyond national borders.
Keywords: populism, public debate, populist radical right, populist left, populism and democracy, populism and government, populism and foreign policy
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Right-wing Populism as a Nationalist Vision of Legitimating Collective Choice: A Supply-side Perspective
Daphne Halikiopoulou
Right-wing populist parties have significantly increased their electoral support in recent years. This has also triggered an increase in scholarly interest in the topic. Most existing explanations focus on demand, putting forward different versions of a cultural grievance story underpinned by a common focus on immigration. Instead, in order to understand the rise of right-wing populism, the focus must also be on the supply side and more specifically on the ways right-wing populists themselves attempt to make their message more appealing to broader sectors of the population. At the core of this argument is nationalism: the examples of the German AfD and the French FN show that the adoption of a predominantly civic nationalist rhetoric allows these parties to appear legitimate to a broad range of social groups with different backgrounds and preferences.
Keywords: right-wing populism, nationalism, immigration, AfD, FN
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Essay

Genealogy of a Populist Uprising. Italy, 1979-2019
Giovanni Orsina
After the 2018 general election, Italy became the only Western European country governed exclusively by anti-establishment forces. The importance of this goes beyond domestic implications, not only because what happens to the south of the Alps is relevant to the future of the European Union, but also because, with Italy often having been a bellwether for global trends, more general lessons can be drawn from its history. The Italian populist uprising can best be understood by looking at how the malfunctioning of the Italian public sphere, the anti-political zeitgeist, and the country’s struggle to squeeze itself into the European monetary straitjacket have interacted with each other over the last forty years. Two junctures are critical: the political and institutional earthquake of 1992-94, and the sovereign debt crisis of 2011 and its aftermath.
Keywords: populism, anti-politics, migrations, eurozone, Italian politics
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The View from Next Door: Greek-Turkish Relations after the Coup Attempt in Turkey
Nikos Christofis, Bahar Baser and Ahmet Erdi Öztürk
Turkey’s recent slide into authoritarianism will have implications for its close neighbours in the West. Especially Greece cannot avoid negative spill-over effects. A coalition government comprising Syriza and Independent Greeks does not have an unconstrained set of policy choices in responding to this. Maintaining effective working relations is a paramount interest but achieving this is easier in principle than in practice especially considering the issues of asylum seekers and Turkish revisionism on the Lausanne Treaty. Unlike the two parties that dominated the Greek political scene after 1974, PASOK and New Democracy, the current government has little experience navigating choppy diplomatic seas with Turkey.
Keywords: Greece, Turkey, authoritarianism, Syriza, AKP, New Democracy
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Contesting Greek Gas Policy: Geopolitical, Energy and Climate Considerations
Filippos Proedrou
Three main drivers underlie states’ intent to expand gas supply: energy security, geopolitics and climate goals. Such considerations also drive Greece’s expansive gas policy, but come with significant caveats. First, pipeline politics entails geopolitical costs and inflated anticipated gains. Second, while gas supply has yielded energy security for Greece, its cost-effectiveness is contentious. Third, the gas option obscures the transition to smart, clean energy sources and systems. A rational actor model within a rationalist-weak cognitivist framework can account for Greece’s gas policy. Yet, its limited success points to the need for a clean energy policy promising higher climate, energy and geopolitical gains.
Keywords: energy security, geopolitics, climate change, Greece, natural gas, renewables
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Assessing the Relation between the Underground Economy and Irregular Migration in Italy
Leila Simona Talani
A number of studies show the importance of the underground economy in defining the dynamics of migratory flows to southern European countries. A very high number of foreign-born workers are employed in the underground economy in Italy. However, by no means has the informal economy in the country been created by migrants. Instead, the opposite is true. Research demonstrates that it is precisely because the underground economy provides a wealth of employment opportunities that there is a strong incentive for migrants to access southern European countries, especially Italy, despite the difficulties in gaining regular migration status.
Keywords: Italy, irregular migration, underground economy, eurozone crisis, European political economy
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Italy’s ‘Middle Power’ Approach to Russia
Marco Siddi
After the Cold War, Italy developed an economic and political partnership with Russia. The confrontation between Russia and the West following the Ukraine crisis initially appeared to have undermined this partnership. Instead, despite reciprocal sanctions and tensions, Italian-Russian cooperation has proved resilient. Security and humanitarian crises in Italy’s Southern neighbourhood and Russia’s renewed activism there have recently led Italian policymakers to intensify dialogue with Moscow. The quest for dialogue with Russia corresponds to the long-standing conceptualisation of Italy as a ‘middle power’, which can achieve its foreign policy goals most effectively through cooperation with the great powers.
Keywords: Italy, Russia, foreign policy, middle power, European Union
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EU-China Security Relations: Discourse vs Practice and the Role of EU Member States
Francesco Saverio Montesano
The gap between discourse and practice which has so far prevented the EU and China from implementing the ambitious security agenda developed within the framework of their strategic partnership is caused by two main sets of impeding factors: practical, stemming from existing policies, and normative, deriving from fundamental divergences regarding the nature of an actor’s role in the international arena. Moreover, obstacles to EU-China security cooperation also stem from and are magnified at the EU member states level. Key member states lack normative and practical synergy in their understanding of security policy and the role the EU and China play in it, thus severely complicating any attempt at bridging the discourse/practice gap.
Keywords: European Union, China, security, cooperation, EU member states
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Book Reviews

Explaining Populism: How and Why Ideas Matter
Abdelkarim Amengay
Review of: The ideational approach to populism : concept, theory, and analysis, edited by Kirk A. Hawkins et al., Routledge, 2019
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Populism in Times of Attempted Unity of Heterogeneous Social Demands
Paulus Wagner
Review of: Polanyi in times of populism : vision and contradiction in the history of economic ideas, by Christopher Holmes, Routledge, 2019
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Paranoid Politics and the Populist Temptation
Tatiana Coutto
Review of: Conspiracy & populism : the politics of misinformation, by Eirikur Bergmann, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019
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Contents

05/06/2019
The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 1-16
05/06/2019
The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 17-34
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 35-49
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 50-66
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 87-101
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 102-122
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 123-138
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 139-158
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 159-161
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 162-164
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The International Spectator, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2019, p. 165-166