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6 - Democracy Diseased

Populism in the Time of Covid

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 June 2022

Wojciech Sadurski
Affiliation:
University of Sydney
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Summary

While populism is understood in this book in an institutional rather than rhetorical way, populist rhetoric is nevertheless important because it creates and strengthens polarization - a populists' favorite habitat. Populist rhetoric is imbued with paranoia, understood in a political sense (Hofstadter), leading to exaggerations, wild accusations, and conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories are exemplified by a "Smolensk theory" (Poland) or seeing George Soros lurking around every corner (Hungary). In all political regimes, the "enemies of the people" are identified, and blamed with various offenses against the people. Populists often use lies, not so much to deceive the population but to create bases for mobilization and identification. When communicating directly with their electorates, usually through social media, populist leaders present themselves as simultaneously heroic and simple, insiders and outsiders. Their rhetoric aims at placing their opponents beyond the pale of the community.

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Chapter
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A Pandemic of Populists , pp. 174 - 205
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Democracy Diseased
  • Wojciech Sadurski, University of Sydney
  • Book: A Pandemic of Populists
  • Online publication: 30 June 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009224543.007
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Democracy Diseased
  • Wojciech Sadurski, University of Sydney
  • Book: A Pandemic of Populists
  • Online publication: 30 June 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009224543.007
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Democracy Diseased
  • Wojciech Sadurski, University of Sydney
  • Book: A Pandemic of Populists
  • Online publication: 30 June 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009224543.007
Available formats
×