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UKIP Office: Photo: “UKIP office“, by Rathfelder, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Navin, Mark Christopher, and Richard Nunan, eds. Democracy, Populism, and Truth. Vol. 9. Springer Nature, 2020.


This book tackles questions related to democracy, populism and truth, with results that are sure to inform pressing academic and popular debates. It is common to describe many of today’s most energizing politicians and political movements as populist. Some are progressive advocates of greater economic democracy or individual rights, while others are recognizably authoritarian and anti-democratic, even while claiming to defend democracy.  What all populist leaders share in common is a rhetorical approach: their ability to articulate, or at least profess to channel, the wishes of ‘the people’, a group that populist leaders claim a unique ability to understand and govern, especially with regard to their dissatisfaction with ruling elites. They decry corruption (although not necessarily with any sincerity), and they sometimes identify more mainstream politicians and bureaucrats as ‘enemies of the people.’ The rise of populist politics raises pressing questions about the nature of populism, but also about relationships between populism and democratic institutions. For example, is populism ever a democratic tendency, or does its invocation of a monolithic demos (‘the people’) signify a fundamentally anti-democratic worldview? Populist political rhetoric also raises concerns about the relationship between truth, democracy, and journalistic integrity. While the history of anti-democratic advocacy (famously illustrated by Plato) has often highlighted the tendency of a democratic style of politics to prioritize popularity over truth, the development of social media—and evolving norms of journalistic communication and public political discourse—raise these misgivings in new forms.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Introduction: Conceptualizing Populism, Democracy, and Truth
    Richard Nunan, Mark C. Navin Pages 1-17
  3. Conceptions of Populism
    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Two Concepts of Populism
      Paul Warren Pages 21-34
    3. Democracy and Populism
      Steven P. Lee Pages 35-46
    4. Corruption, Populism, and Sloth
      Robert G. Boatright, Molly Brigid McGrath Pages 47-59
  4. Truth and Democratic Discourse
    1. Front Matter
      Pages 61-61
    2. Democracy, Truth, and Understanding: An Epistemic Argument for Democracy
      John Capps Pages 63-76
    3. Free Speech, Universities, and the Development of Civic Discourse
      Joan McGregor Pages 77-90
    4. Harm, “No-Platforming” and the Mission of the University: A Reply to McGregor
      Lisa Fuller Pages 91-101
    5. Journalistic Balance, Unintended Pyrrhonism, and Political Polarization
      Pierre Le Morvan Pages 103-112
  5. Social Media, Truth, and Justice
    1. Front Matter
      Pages 113-113
    2. Reflections on the Root Causes of Outrage Discourse on Social Media
      Patrick O’Callaghan Pages 115-126
    3. Identifying Political Participants on Social Media: Conflicts of Epistemic Justice
      John Francis, Leslie Francis Pages 127-141
  6. Voting and Democracy
    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. As Maine Goes, So Goes the Nation? Ranked Choice Voting and STV as Antidotes to Tribal Populism
      Richard Nunan Pages 145-160
    3. Voting Without Voice: How Votes Can Be Counted Without Counting [or Democracy and the Wasted Vote Problem]
      Alistair M. Macleod Pages 161-176
  7. American Democracy and Populism
    1. Front Matter
      Pages 177-177
    2. #ConstitutionalStability
      Wade L. Robison Pages 179-191
    3. Populism, American Nationalism and Representative Democracy
      Kenneth Henley, Paul Warren Pages 193-207
    4. An Antidote to Populism
      Richard Barron Parker Pages 209-218
    5. The Lethal Synergy Corroding American Democracy: Who Are the “GINs”—And Why Is It That They Can’t “Quit Trump”?
      Jonathan Schonsheck Pages 219-235
  8. Populism and International Justice
    1. Front Matter
      Pages 237-237
    2. Something’s Afoot: Conservative Populist Oppositionalism
      Eric Smaw Pages 239-253
    3. African Challenges to the International Criminal Court: An Example of Populism?
      Renée Nicole Souris Pages 255-268

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.