Skip to main content

Photo: “Election 2018 in Hungary. Taken on the 8th of April, 2018, around 23.35. Bálna, Budapest. Orbán Viktor announcing the victory of the FIDESZ party.“, by Elekes Andor licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0. Hue modified from the original.

Baikady, Rajendra, S. M. Sajid, Varoshini Nadesan, Jaroslaw Przeperski, Islam Rezaul, and Jianguo Gao. “Right-wing Populism in a Global Perspective: The Necessity for an Integrative Theory” in The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Change, p. 1-24


This chapter not only presents a critical review of the contemporary academic literature regarding the “social nature” (basic characteristics), “social manifestations,” and “social nurtures” (determining factors, roots, bases, and impacts) of Right-Wing Populism (RWP), but also initiates a conversation to pursue a new consolidative line of theorization of RWP. It starts by addressing the existing theoretical shortcomings in social scientific contributions to global studies of populism, highlighting theoretical inconsistencies and gaps in the literature. These, as argued, distort the potentials for constructing encompassing conceptual frameworks necessary to theorize the rise of new RWP in the current context of global social change. The resultant critical review is structured around three main aspects of studying RWP in the recent literature: (1) conceptual inconsistencies around its social nature; (2) disagreements on the “social manifestations” of RWP as a social phenomenon or form; and (3) divisions around explaining the “nurtures” of RWP that have given (a global) rise to RWP and have influenced its evolution in multiple forms. In concluding, the chapter will make general recommendations on how to develop an integrative theoretical framework with the capacity to both address the unnecessary conceptual inconsistencies and divisions, and to synthesize the currently unrelated explanatory efforts at the macro-, meso-, and microlevels.

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.