“We Can Do This!” Tackling the Political Theology of Populism

  • Ulrich Schmiedel
Part of the Religion and Global Migrations book series (RGM)


Throughout Europe, the populist protests of PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) have stirred up controversy during the current refugee crisis. Applying the political philosophy of Judith Butler to these protests, Ulrich Schmiedel analyzes the political performances as well as the political propositions of Pegida, arguing that a tacit political theology underpins their populism: Pegida conceptualizes “Christianity” in a way which allows the protesters to claim that “we” and “only we” are “the people.” In response to Pegida’s populism, Schmiedel advocates for a weak theology à la John D. Caputo. Such a theology, he argues, “weakens” the identity of Christianity so as to provoke the public and political controversies necessary to put a politics of livable life into practice.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Schmiedel
    • 1
  1. 1.Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

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