Populism and Democracy: Laclau’s theory of Populism: The Royal Road to Totalitarianism?

Bidragets oversatte titel: Populisme og demokrati: laclaus teori om populisme: Den direkte vej til totalitarisme?

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


Laclau’s conception of populism is the strongest available and the charges against him, and against populism in general from many quarters is unwarranted. But there is still things to think more about in Laclau’s theory. Ontologically I don’t accept the idea of populism being placed on an ontological level. Normatively, even though there is no necessary link between populism and authoritarianism, neither is there a coincidence between the two. We therefore have to be able to specify which dimensions could be used in order to evaluate to which extent actual populists movements are democratic. In the paper I suggest Inclusion, Participation or active citizenship, pluralism. And go into deeper analysis of Lefort’s concept of the empty place of power and the concomitant idea of incarnation in political representation. Keeping the place of power empty is something democratic populisms must consciously recognise and limit themselves in relation to. Analysis of actual populisms should address all 4 dimensions in answering the question of the extent to which they are democratic.
In an appendix I give an introduction to Laclau’s theory of populism parted into nine constitutive parts. The introduction draws on examples from the Danish Social Democratic party’s successful campaign in the early 1930’ies ‘Denmark for the People’
Bidragets oversatte titelPopulisme og demokrati: laclaus teori om populisme: Den direkte vej til totalitarisme?
Publikationsdato1 maj 2018
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 1 maj 2018
BegivenhedECPR 2018 Joint Sessions of Workshops
: Rethinking ‘Militant Democracy’: Democratic Dilemmas in the Age of Populism
- Univerity of Nicosia, Nicosia, Cypern
Varighed: 10 apr. 201814 apr. 2018


WorkshopECPR 2018 Joint Sessions of Workshops
LokationUniverity of Nicosia


  • Populism
  • democracy
  • incarnation
  • Laclau
  • Lefort

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