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Heinisch, Reinhard K., Christina Holtz-Bacha, and Oscar Mazzoleni. Political Populism: Handbook of Concepts, Questions, Strategies. Nomos Verlag, 2021.


Populism represents the greatest political challenge to Western democracies since World War II. The electoral successes of populist parties and actors, Brexit, the presidency of Donald Trump or campaigns against containing the coronavirus pandemic are expressions of this phenomenon, in which the electorate is mobilised against supposed elites. The revised and expanded handbook Political Populism offers a comprehensive theoretical and empirical introduction to the causes and effects of political populism, especially in the democratic systems of Europe, but also in North and South America. It focuses on explaining populism as a consequence of a legitimation crisis of the representative system as well as on the controversies and limitations in the current academic debate. Drawing on political and communication science, the book also offers a comprehensive analysis of the effects of populism on various policy areas, such as environmental, health and economic policy.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part I: Defining and Analysing the Concept
  • Part II: Assessing the Success of Populist Actors in Europe and in the Americas
  • Part III: Populism and Communication
  • Part IV: Populism Between Emerging and Consolidated Research Topics

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.