Matteo Bonotti reviews 'Populism Now! The case for progressive populism' by David McKnight

Matteo Bonotti reviews 'Populism Now! The case for progressive populism' by David McKnight

Populism Now!: The case for progressive populism

by David McKnight

NewSouth, $29.99 pb, 208 pp, 9781742235639

Over the past few years, no term has been more ubiquitous, among political scientists and political commentators alike, than ‘populism’. The 2016 Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, Donald Trump’s election later that year, and, more recently, the formation of a government mostly supported by two populist parties (the Movimento Cinque Stelle/Five Star Movement and the Lega/League) in Italy, are only some examples of what many observers consider a global populist wave. Most of the growing debate on populism, however, has focused on right-wing populism, due to the ideological underpinnings of the majority of populist movements and actors emerging in Europe and North America as part of this global wave. Yet populism is not inherently associated with right-wing ideological positions. It is, itself, an ideology, but one that is sufficiently broad, or ‘thin-centred’ (Cas Mudde), to be combined with thicker ideological positions, both on the right and left of the political spectrum.

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Matteo Bonotti

Matteo Bonotti

Matteo Bonotti is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations, School of Social Sciences, at Monash University. He obtained his PhD in Politics from the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include party politics, linguistic justice, free speech, religion and public life, and food justice. His work has appeared in leading academic journals, and his monograph Partisanship and Political Liberalism in Diverse Societies was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. 

Published in August 2018, no. 403

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