In the name of the people - Populism and the popular: threats or promises to democracy?

Project: Research

Project Details


Populism in general, and specially its relation to democracy, are being debated intensively these years. Whereas the popular (‘folkelighed’) is almost univocally positive, populism is mostly used pejoratively. Seeing populism as a way of constructing the people, and a political logic which can be present in degrees, this study examines different aspects of such constructions in Danish political history. The aim of the study is threefold:

1) a clarification of populism's relation to democracy by focusing on three aspects of the role of the people: popular sovereignty, patterns of in- and exclusions in 'the people' and popular activism and participation

2) to specify the concepts of left vs. right populism by analysing populism's relation to equality and economic redistribution

3) to give an historical and conceptual account of the way the cluster of concepts of the people, the popular, and demos have been used and have acquired positive and negative connotations in Danish political history. The two major cases are The Danish People’s Party since its establishment, and the Danish Social Democracy in the period leading up to the program of ”Denmark for the People” in 1934.
Short titleThe Popular, Populism and Democracy
Effective start/end date01/09/201931/08/2022


  • Populism
  • The popular
  • Democracy
  • Left wing populism
  • Right wing populism
  • Social Democracy
  • Danish People's Party
  • Discourse analysis
  • Conceptual histoy