Populism – a Factory of Myths

By Groza, Teodora; Groza, Elvira | Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, Winter 2017 | Go to article overview

Populism – a Factory of Myths


Groza, Teodora, Groza, Elvira, Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies


POPULISM – A FACTORY OF MYTHS

Abstract: Review of Mihnea S. Stoica, Populismul în Europa. Dezvoltare istorică, discurs politic şi susţinători ai dreptei radicale (Populism in Europe. Historical development, political discourse and supporters of the radical right) (Cluj-Napoca: Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2017).

Key Words: political myths, Populism in Europe, populist discourse, new mythologies, ideology, strategy, Mihnea S. Stoica.

The political sphere can be perceived as a playground where different actors operate with myths to gain supporters. Perhaps the very idea of the possibility of a human community is one of the most powerful of these myths. Nonetheless, the ongoing international crises put into question the traditional political myths, yielding a need for new mythologies and symbols for people to believe in. In the aftermath of phenomena as terrorism and immigration, the political discourses have become providers of certainties and reassurances for people that can no longer believe in the establishments, as they problematize the current issues as an affidavit of the failure of the standard way of doing politics. The political phenomenon (since it cannot be called an ideology) that seems to have all the answers to the concerns of the masses is populism, which operates with a violent rhetoric that leaves no question unanswered. The populist leaders have given themselves an imperative mandate to save the people from the evil elites, operating on a clear friend-enemy distinction that Carl Schmitt has identified to be the basis of politics: the good, common people are the friends, whereas the elites are the enemies that promote evil.

In the context of a Europe which has become a fertile ground for populist parties not merely at national level but also at Union level, as the 2014 European Parliament elections have proved, there is a pressing need of a thorough analysis of the way populism succeeds in gaining increasing numbers of supporters. In the wake of this call, Mihnea Stoica's book Populismul în Europa. Dezvoltare istorică, discurs politic şi susţinători ai dreptei radicale (Populism in Europe. Historical development, political discourse and supporters of the radical right) comes as an analysis that does not limit itself to assessing populism from an interdisciplinary point of view, but identifies the causes that lead to the success of populist strategies relying on the profiles of the electorate of the successful parties. The book embarks on a theoretical and empirical analysis structured in six chapters which first explains the evolution of the concept of populism and its main themes and then provides an insight into "populism in action" in seven European countries (France, Austria, Italy, Romania, The Netherlands, Finland and UK). After the theoretical foundations are laid down, the author portrays the stereotypical opinions of the populist enthusiasts using statistics gathered from the 2014 European Parliament elections. Stoica puts forward the thesis that populism is not a political ideology, but also rather a super-strategy (Stoica 2017, 67), hence the populist parties are defined by ideological inconsistencies and display a high degree of clientelism. Relying on the contradictory policies of several European populist parties, he proves that these parties cannot be placed on either side of the political spectrum, showing that populism does not imply an established political agenda. The question that poses itself is how can political organisations that fail to run on an agenda obtain considerable support, taking into account that the traditional parties run on clearly defined policies. The empirical analysis placed after the theoretical considerations reveals that the supporters of the populists share some common traits: they come from areas which are affected by unemployment, immigration and criminality and, as a consequence of their basic education, they feel underrepresented in the political process. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Populism – a Factory of Myths
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.