Populism Beyond the Nation

  • Jan ZeemannEmail author
Part of the Global Political Sociology book series (GLPOSO)


Populism is commonly intertwined with nationalism. This chapter asks the question if the idea of the nation is a mandatory part of populist articulations. After discussing how contemporary academic approaches presume the national character of populism, the chapter continues with a plea for Ernesto Laclau’s emancipatory concept of populism, in which unanswered demands become popular demands and spawn collective identities. Leaving content behind and concentrating on form enables us to think populism beyond the nation-state: the entity of the people is not necessarily a nation’s people. Thinking populism without the nation brings new problems and possibilities to light. A global populist movement might be part of the solution to contemporary challenges like climate change or economic crises. Possible pitfalls during the construction of global chains of equivalence involve language barriers, the question of a charismatic leader and the dilemma of pluralism versus hegemony.


Populism Nation Discourse theory Post-structuralism Political theory Social movements 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kiel UniversityKielGermany

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