POLS216 - Populism in the 21st Century: From Brexit to Trump and Beyond

10 cp
Prerequisites: 10 cp from 100–level units in Politics and International Relations
Teaching Organisation: Nil

This unit provides students with an overview of one of the most hotly debated topics in politics today – populism. A number of the most controversial leaders, parties and movements of recent years – Donald Trump, Hugo Chávez, Pauline Hanson, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Rodrigo Duterte, UKIP, the Five Star Movement, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party amongst others – have been labelled as ‘populist’. But what does populism mean? What unites such political actors of different ideological stripes and regional settings? What drives populist support and demand? And is populism ultimately a threat or corrective to democracy? This unit addresses these questions, and seeks to make sense of the prominence of populism in the contemporary political landscape. The course is organized in 3 central sections. The first will examine the historical background and theoretical underpinnings of populism; the second will analyse populism in different regional settings across the globe; and the third will explore populism’s wider relationship to media, crisis and democracy in the 21st century. Overall, this unit will help students make sense of populism both in theory and practice.