What is populism?

by Jan-Werner Müller

Hardcover, 2016




Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2016]

User reviews

LibraryThing member maneekuhi
Days after the US elections of 2016, while still in shock at the presidential result, I started to wonder what all this "populist" talk might portend. I had heard the term quite a bit in the previous months but felt I still didn't have a good grasp either of its meaning nor its history as a party, movement, whatever. There were a number of books out and I chose Muller's because of some good reviews and its brevity - about 90 pages, and perhaps 20 of those were notes. After reading the first dozen pages or so I knew I had made a mistake. It's in what I would call academic-speak and I detest academic speak. I checked a brief bio - sure enough, Muller was listed as a politics professor at a major Ivy League uni.

Reading this book reminded me of college courses I took to complete some last semester requirements - you know the ones, word of mouth had it that there was no paper to write, no midterm, an easy A, only a one question essay final exam, but lots of boring lectures and you HAD to go.

I only wanted to learn some basic stuff - how come populism doesn't seem to last very long?, was Hitler a populist? what can we expect from our new administration? is our new President a real populist or a FAKE populist? Instead I got words like pluralism, antipluralist, liberalism, individualism, materialism, atheism, majoritarinaism, constitutionalism,elitism, and ochlocracy. Yes, "ochlocracy", I hadn't heard that word for at least a week.
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