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Populism, anti-populism and crisis

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journal contribution
posted on 26.02.2018, 10:03 authored by Yannis Stavrakakis, Giorgos Katsambekis, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Nikos Nikisianis, Thomas Siomos
This article focuses on two issues involved in the formation and political trajectory of populist representations within political antagonism. First, it explores the role of crisis in the articulation of populist discourse. This problematic is far from new within theories of populism but has recently taken a new turn. We thus purport to reconsider the way populism and crisis are related, mapping the different modalities this relation can take and advancing further their theorization from the point of view of a discursive theory of the political, drawing primarily on the Essex School perspective initially developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Second, this will involve focusing on the antagonistic language games developed around populist representations, something that has not attracted equal attention. Highlighting the need to study anti-populism together with populism, focusing on their mutual constitution, we will test the ensuing theoretical framework in an analysis of SYRIZA, a recent and, as a result, under-researched example of egalitarian, inclusionary populism emerging within the European crisis landscape.


This article has been composed within the context of the ‘POPULISMUS: Populist Discourse and Democracy’ research project (2014–2015). POPULISMUS has been implemented at the School of Political Sciences of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki within the framework of the Operational Program ‘Education and Lifelong Learning’ (Action ‘ARISTEIA II’) and was co-funded by the European Social Fund (European Union) and Greek national funds (project no. 3217).



  • Social Sciences


  • Politics and International Studies

Published in

Contemporary Political Theory


1 - 24


STAVRAKAKIS, Y. ... et al, 2017. Populism, anti-populism and crisis. Contemporary Political Theory, 17 (1), pp.4–27.


© Palgrave Macmillan


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Contemporary Political Theory. The definitive publisher-authenticated version STAVRAKAKIS, Y. ... et al, 2017. Populism, anti-populism and crisis. Contemporary Political Theory, 17 (1), pp.4–27. is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-017-0142-y