Cas Mudde Profile picture
Nov 5, 2017 26 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
In past months I’ve criticized high-profile initiatives on populism at Harvard & Stanford. Let me clarify why. #thread
1. I am happy that populism is (finally) taken serious by US mainstream political and social science.
2. Although I wish “populism” was used more carefully and not as short hand for anti-establishment, nativist, or protest politics.
3. I am also happy established scholars bring their specific insights from other field to the study of populism.
4. It was particularly because of Ignazi’s insights on party politics and Betz and Kitchelt’s knowledge of green parties that study of radical right parties advanced.
5. I am unhappy, however, with how insular and pedigree-related some of the initiatives are.
6. I think you should invite the best scholars for that specific research agenda, not the most famous political scientists or the ones from the most prestigious institutions.
7. Given that “populism studies” has long been ignored by mainstream US political science, most of its scholars are not among the most famous or at most prestigious institutions.
8. While the foundational scholars of populism have died (Laclau) or retired (Canovan), most of important populism scholars reside outside of US.
9. I’m thinking of Paul Taggart, Chantal Mouffe, Matthias Rooduijn, Yannis Stavrakakis, Sarah de Lange, Duncan McDonnell, Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Yves Mény, Benjamin Moffit.
10. And, given that most US “populism” is treating a Trump (and Brexit) as pinnacles of populism - wrongly, in my opinion, three decades of research on European radical right is crucial.
11. Which leads to many, many other great scholars, who have been working on radical right for 10+ years.
12. Among the many not yet mentioned are Ann-Cathrine Jungar, Jens Rydgren, Michael Minkenberg, Elizabeth Ivarsflaten, Roger Eatwell, Elisabeth Carter, Kia Arzheimer etc
13. The main points are: first, WE ALL STAND ON SHOULDERS OF GIANTS. We should give them credit and not just their “translators”.
15. Academia is an extremely unequal profession, nowhere more do than in the US. Particularly liberal academics at resource-plenty institutions should acknowledge their privilege and spread the wealth.
16. Bring in good scholars from not-so-good institutions, help them be even better.
17. Have younger populism scholars present truly original and new research and more established general scholars provide feedback. This profits both and the field as a whole.
18. Help improve the number and visibility of female scholars and scholars of color, who are remarkably underrepresented in populism studies ((also compared to radical right!).
19. On this point, Both APSA panel and Stanford workshop had great female participation! Bravo! 👏
20. Be careful to claim innovations and new insights. Most has been written before, you just haven’t read it (yet).
21. New scholars of populism, engage with existing scholarship, don’t just adopt definition or set it up as consensus to challenge.
22. Old(er) scholars of populism, embrace the new insights from new scholars and other fields. Don’t treat them as “invaders”.
23. Finally, to be clear, there is much academic privilege in parts of Europe, with massively funded research projects on populism and related issues. The same holds for you! 😉
24. If anything, I hope populism studies will improve, as we all know there is much space for improvement. However, it should not become “mainstreamed”, as it would lose it vibrancy.
25. All of this will largely happen without me, as I’m too busy and tired (and hate to travel), so invite my many smart colleagues instead. I’ll definitely read y’all’s best work. 😀 #TheEnd

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More from @CasMudde

Oct 6, 2018
This weekend Brazilians will go to the polls to elect a new president. #Brazil is fifth biggest country in the world, in terms of population, and symptomatic of a remarkable authoritarian turn in the world's biggest states. #thread
1. China is the biggest country and only non-democracy in top-5. But even here General Secretary Xi Jinping has taken the country in a (even) more authoritarian and nationalist direction.
2. India, the world's largest democracy, has been governed by PM Narendra Modi and his radical right BJP-led coalition since 2014. MOstly ignored by international media, India has seen sharp rise of radical and sometimes violent Hindutva activism.
Read 12 tweets
Sep 12, 2018
I have been arguing for a long time that the EU, and particularly the EPP, should stand up to Viktor Orbán, but I feel nevertheless conflicted on triggering #Article7 - let me explain. #Thread…
1. Although triggering Article 7 does not mean kicking Hungary out of EU (more below), it is starting with the "nuclear option".
2. Orbán and Fidesz have been creating an "illiberal state" since regaining power in 2010. That is 8 years of undermining checks and balances, recreating institutions and filling them with cronies, and creating a kleptocracy on Russian model.
Read 21 tweets
Jul 12, 2018
NEW! @pewglobal has just published an interesting and important report on ideology vs populism in Western Europe (full disclosure: I was consulted on it). Here are some of my quick takes. #Thread
You can find the full study here -->…
1. The main takeaway for politicians and pundits should be that populist parties are NOT the voice of the people! In fact, in almost all countries they are BY FAR the least favored party!
2. Favorability gap between populist and traditional parties is massive in North and substantial in much of South! This is even the case with left populist Podemos (less favorable than PP, although poll before govt crisis!) and most normalized populist radical right party, DF!
Read 14 tweets
Jun 29, 2018
Good piece on EPP and Orbán by ⁦⁦@PoliticoRyan⁩ although he is too forgiving on EPP’s incredible hypocrisy. A few comments. #Thread…
1. I honestly don’t see how EPP comes out of EP2019 weaker, except if Macron joins ALDE (big if).
2. S&D will be real loser of EP2019, losing one of its last big parties in big country because of Brexit while many others have recently been decimated.
Read 18 tweets
Nov 26, 2017
This is supposed to be defense of one of too many uncritical “human interest” @nytimes pieces on neo-Nazis and other far right people. It shows depth of ignorance among journalists.
1. First and foremost, it shows media’s tendency to think in clichés - the purely evil bad person and the purely good victim.
2. Second, it shows the enduring problem of white privilege in the media, undoubtedly strengthened by whiteness of newsrooms as noted by @jbouie
Read 27 tweets
Nov 13, 2017
I think this piece, while more nuanced than "60.000 Neo-Nazis march in Warsaw", still misses many points. #thread…
1. Poland always has had a very strong far right subculture, which is quite diverse, from neo-Nazis, to neo-fascist (Dmowski) to orthodox-Christian nationalists.
2. Because of electoral system and big right-wing umbrella parties far right parties and politicians mainly operated within right-wing parties rather than separately (recent exception: LPR).
Read 21 tweets

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