Populism in Europe and the Americas

Présentation de cours du programme universitaire

Populism in Europe and the Americas 

  • Professor: Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
  • Session: July
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Number of hours of class: 36

Télécharger le syllabus 2019 de cours du "Populism in Europe and the Americas" (PDF, EN, 315 KB).

Objective of the Course

The main objective of this course is to explore the phenomenon of populism, by considering its meaning, causes and effects in a systematic and comparative way. Not only will students learn an increasingly consensual and conceptual approach to analyze populism, but they will also gain knowledge about how to think critically about this phenomenon, which is becoming more and more relevant on a global scale.


Populism is one of the main political buzzwords of the early 21st century. It is central to current debates about politics, from radical right parties in Europe to left-wing presidents in Latin America to the Tea Party, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States. Populism is also one of the most contested concepts in the social sciences. In line with a growing body of literature, populism should be defined as a set of ideas that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic camps - ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite’ - and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people. This course will provide an introduction to populism in theory and practice, employing an increasingly consensual and ideational approach to populism.

Organization of the Course

The course will address the following main issues:

  1. Concepts of populism (assessment of definitions and presentation of populism as a set of ideas).
  2. Overview of populist forces in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
  3. Characteristics of populist forces (e.g. organization, leadership, gender).
  4. The ambivalent relationship between populism and democracy.
  5. Causes and responses (e.g. theories of populist mobilization, and national and international responses to the rise of populist forces).

Professor Biography

Cristobal KaltwasserCristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser (PhD, Humboldt University of Berlin) is a Full Professor of political science at Diego Portales University in Santiago de Chile. Before joining Diego Portales University, he was a Marie-Curie Research Fellow at the University of Sussex in the UK and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in Germany. He is the co-editor, with Cas Mudde, of Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? (Cambridge University Press, 2012) as well as the co-editor, with Juan Pablo Luna, of The Resilience of the Latin American Right (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). His book Populism: A Very Short Introduction, written together with Cas Mudde, has been published by Oxford University Press in 2017 and so far has been translated into Catalan, Dutch, French, Greek, Japanese, Portuguese and Thai.

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