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  • Populism and Identity Politics

    Andrés Velasco

    Chapter from the book: Velasco A. & Bucelli I. 2022. Populism: Origins and Alternative Policy Responses.

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    Over one-third of humanity lives under populist regimes – and many of those regimes are turning increasingly authoritarian. It is a worldwide challenge to liberal democracy. The conventional wisdom is that bad economics is to blame: the losers from globalisation are angry and voting populists into office is their revenge. The policy implication is a kind of technocratic fantasy: fix the economy and populism will fade away. That view has weak empirical foundations, since many emerging countries that are clear winners from globalisation have recently elected populists. In this essay I argue that we cannot understand the surge in populism without understanding the rise of identity politics around the world. Identity is the intermediate stopover in the two-way feedback between economics and politics. A focus on identity politics has important practical implications. One of them is that, to succeed in the fight against populism, democratic politicians have to learn to practice identity politics, but of the right kind. The challenge is to build national identities based not on nativism or xenophobia, but on liberal democratic values.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Velasco, A. 2022. Populism and Identity Politics. In: Velasco A. & Bucelli I (eds.), Populism. London: LSE Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31389/lsepress.pop.b

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Aug. 9, 2022