The Double-Edged Sword : Political Appropriation of the Concept of Populism

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Elmgren , A 2018 , ' The Double-Edged Sword : Political Appropriation of the Concept of Populism ' , Journal of Political Ideologies , vol. 23 , no. 3 , pp. 320-341 . https://doi.org/10.1080/13569317.2018.1502940

Title: The Double-Edged Sword : Political Appropriation of the Concept of Populism
Author: Elmgren, Ainur
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies
Date: 2018-09-06
Language: eng
Number of pages: 22
Belongs to series: Journal of Political Ideologies
ISSN: 1356-9317
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/314499
Abstract: The concept of populism has been in use in political debate for over a century. Because ‘populist’ is often used in a pejorative sense today, those to whom it is applied to tend to reject it. However, a closer look at the history of the concept reveals that while its meaning may fluctuate and even be dismissed as irrelevant, its use can become a political tool. This study of the use of ‘populism’ refrains from making value judgments on the actual populist nature of certain parties or political tendencies. Instead, it analyzes uses of the concept from a historical perspective. Special emphasis is placed on politicians who chose to define themselves as populist, or accept the label imposed by others, with particular focus on the Finns Party of Finland. Such self-identified populists draw their conceptions of populism from the ever-growing field of populism research, striving to appropriate and realize what scholars have only hypothetically described as a professed ideal. A closer look at the uses of populism as a political self-identity forces us to rethink its uses as a pejorative, or as an analytical, concept.
Subject: 517 Political science
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