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Sat, 4 July 2020

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By Andrew McQuillan
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Populism in Europe

Dods General Election Hub 2019

2 min read

Dods Monitoring have released a briefing that aims to assess the extent of populism across Europe, as well as analyse its impact.


Populism has increasingly become a buzzword in politics. Rarely used as a self-defining term amongst politicians, the term is more often used to defame and insult opponents.

Although the term is widely presumed to have negative connotations, the actual definition is widely disputed.

Broadly, most academics agree, that populism as a theory is based around the belief that society is split between two groups: ‘the people’; and ‘the elite’; and that the latter routinely exploit the former for political and societal advantage.

Populism can, therefore, be used to describe a figure or a movement who proclaim to be standing up on behalf of the many, against the few. A movement that liberates and is inherently authentic. To subscribers of this theory, the elite have failed to represent their citizens and instead seek to adopt the term ‘populist’ to dismiss a movement they simply find distasteful or dangerous to their privilege.

However, it can also be used to describe a movement or figure exploitatively appealing to disenfranchised voters with simplistic, overly emotional language and solutions that ignores the complexity of the issue: to ride the wave of anger but fail to provide an effective solution.

There is no set agreement on the theory of populism, but what is indisputable, however, is the frequency in which it is being used to describe, criticise or endorse movements – both left and right – across Europe and beyond.

This briefing aims to assess the extent of populism across Europe, as well as analyse its impact: To read more click HERE.

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