2019 Theme Panels

Review the panels selected by our Program Chairs Amel Ahmed, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Christopher Sebastian Parker, University of Washington, due to their exploration of the conference theme, “Populism and Privilege.”

Thursday, August 29, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

(Discussant) Steven Levitsky, Harvard University; (Discussant) Stathis N. Kalyvas, Yale University; (Chair) Steven Brooke, University of Louisville

Session Description:

Asia has received far less attention from scholars of populism than other regions, particularly Latin America and Europe, and more recently the United States.  But it isclear that some of the key themes of populism — anti-elitism, fiscal redistribution for the masses or anti-minority tendencies, a distrust of non-elected institutions of executive oversight including the Constitution and courts, a penchant for vigilantism, etc. — are also evident in Asian politics.  These papers, concentrating on East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, explore the varieties and roots of populism in its Asian theater and draw comparison with the mainstream of populism literature.


Nation-Status: How Nationalist Anxieties Fuel Asian Populisms
Iza Ding, University of Pittsburgh; Dan Slater, University of Michigan

Fanning Fears: Populism and the Rise of Mob Violence in Asian Democracies
Sana Jaffrey, University of Chicago

When is Nationalism not Populist?  Evidence from South Asia
Prerna Singh, Brown University

Varieties of Populism in India: Concepts and Correlates
Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University; Srikrishna Ayyangar

Thursday, August 29, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

(Chair) Ainsley Nicole LeSure, Occidental College; (Presenter) Michael G. Hanchard, University of Pennsylvania; (Presenter) Nolan McCarty; (Presenter) Vesla Mae Weaver, Johns Hopkins University; (Presenter) Adom Getachew, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Charles W. Mills, CUNY Graduate Center

Session Description:
The Spectre of Race: How Discrimination Haunts Western Democracy  explores the role of racial and ethno-national hierarchy in both the formation of democracies and in the formation of comparative politics as a field of study. The book demonstrates how racial and ethno-national regimes have served as two of the most enduring forms of political differentiation in the history of democratic polities. While classical Athens, the United States, France and Britain are the four cases under examination, the book’s conclusions resonate in contemporary politics in various parts of the world.

Friday, August 30, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

(Presenter) Christopher S. Parker, University of Washington; (Presenter) Daniel F. Ziblatt, Harvard University; (Chair) Amel F. Ahmed, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; (Presenter) Steven Levitsky, Harvard University; (Presenter) Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Gretchen Helmke, University of Rochester; (Presenter) Frances McCall Rosenbluth, Yale University; (Presenter) Ian Shapiro, Yale University; (Presenter) Michael Kazin, Georgetown University

Session Description:
“How Democracies Die” is a book that takes as its central concern the question “could American democracy be in danger?”. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitzky and Ziblatt argue that many of the warning signed of democratic decay are already there.

Democracy no longer ends with a big bang, they maintain, but can die quietly, subverted by the very leaders who were elected to sustain it. With a view to the current political turmoil in the United States, they warn against that dangers of polarization and the erosion of the soft-guardrails that allow for democratic competition.

Critics on both the left and the right, however, have challenged the claims that the current moment represents an unusual crisis, with many questioning whether or not this indeed represents a significant break with the past. Some have also pointed to the exclusionary basis of past periods of democratic consensus and the need to grapple seriously with these exclusions rather than simply work to avoid polarization. The panel brings together a range of perspectives on the question of how democracies die and whether indeed American democracy is at risk.

Thursday, August 29, 10:00 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.

(Chair) Dara Z. Strolovitch, Princeton University; (Presenter) Cathy J. Cohen, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Jamila D. Michener, Cornell University; (Presenter) Jenn M. Jackson, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Lisa Garcia Bedolla, University of California, Berkeley; (Presenter) Zein Murib, Fordham University-Lincoln Center; (Presenter) Tianna Paschel, University of California, Berkeley

Session Description:
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Cathy Cohen’s foundational book The Boundaries of Blackness.  In his 2000 review of the book, Fred Harris wrote that it “stretches our theoretical understanding of black politics,” “provides scholars in the field of black politics with more theoretical tools to further expand the boundaries of scholarship in the field,” and concludes that it “will be debated for years to come and will likely emerge as one of the most important works in black politics.”  The same might be said for Boundaries’s influence within the fields of Queer Studies, Gender Studies, and for the study of political advocacy and social movements.  The participants on this roundtable will take assessments and predictions such as Harris’s as points of departure for a discussion about the book’s impact on and implications for their own work, for the study of the politics of race, gender, and sexuality, and for political science more generally.  They will also consider work that has extended or challenged the arguments and frameworks offered by Cohen.

Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m. –  9:30 a.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 2: Foundations of Political Theory


(Chair) Paulina Ochoa Espejo, Haverford College; (Discussant) Kevin Duong, University of Virginia

Session Description:
This panel will focus on how contemporary challenges to our understanding of political collectivity and collective agency—whether in the resurgence of “populist” authoritarianism, global climate disaster, or the crisis of neoliberalism—might be confronted by critically rethinking the dominant modes through which these categories have been conceptualized.  Critical reflection on political collectivity and collective agency has long been a preoccupation of canonical political theory, albeit one rarely engaged at length by contemporary scholars, whether in Hobbes’s seminal distinction between the people and the multitude, Rousseau’s sovereign assemblies, Kant’s critical publics, Marx’s class conscious proletariat, or nineteenth century theories of crowd and mass. Drawing on a diverse nineteenth and twentieth century archive, this panel will engage with some of these canonical works, as well as more contemporary discussions, while also challenging the adequacy of our inherited categories of political collectivity and collective agency to productively confronting the contemporary political challenges that we face.


“The déclassés of all classes”
Patchen Markell, Cornell University

This paper seeks to untangle two strands of discourse about the political problem represented by the “masses” in European politics, one of which centers on the accession of the “many” to political power through the expansion of the franchise and the consequent development of the “mass party,” and the other of which centers on the disintegrative effects of a capitalism that does not (merely) simplify and sharpen but (also) disorganizes class antagonisms. In doing this, the paper also seeks to reorganize our understanding of the relations among Marx, Schmitt, and Arendt, using Marx’s (and Marxist) treatments of the Lumpen, Schmitt’s diagnoses of the paralysis of parliamentary government in Weimar, and Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism and related publications as its primary texts. While a conventional mapping would group Arendt and Schmitt together as defenders of the autonomy of the political—the differences between their understandings of “the political” notwithstanding—against the economism of Marx and Marxism, the paper identifies surprising affinities between Schmitt and Marx around the problem of the political representation of the masses, understood in the traditional sense as the “many”; at the same time, it identifies an equally surprising affinity between Arendt and Marx, and especially a dissident Marxist analysis of the rise of Fascism and National Socialism in the 1920s and early 1930s, which focused on the politically disintegrative and disarticulating power of capitalism. The paper argues that the conflation of these two strands of discourse in the postwar wave of theorizing about “mass society,” and the consequent elision of the historical settings in which these analyses had initially been framed, has not only contributed to the distorted representations of these writers within political theory; it has also helped entrench a forced (and false) choice between the critique of capitalism and the recovery of “the political” as fundamental theoretical orientations.

The People: From Identification to Praxis
Jason Frank, Cornell University

Radical democratic theorists have focused attention in recent years on the theoretical and historical dilemmas surrounding the “politics of peoplehood.”  The late Ernesto Laclau went so far as to claim that “constructing a people is the main task of radical politics.”  These theoretical debates have taken on a new political salience with the global resurgence of “populist” authoritarianism, on the one hand, and the proliferation of decentralized and egalitarian insurgencies like the French gilets jaunes, on the other.  Intrinsic to most of these discussions—sometimes explicitly, but more often implicitly—is a reliance on conceptions of political collectivity and collective agency deeply indebted to the theories and mechanisms of identification, whether drawn from semiotics, psychoanalytic theories of group psychology, or the decisionist political existentialism of Carl Schmitt.  This reliance provides the theoretical underpinning of the “Jacobin,” “Caesarist,” sovereign, and state-focused preoccupations of much of this work. This paper will excavate the conceptions of political identification that are at once central and theoretically underarticulated in key works of democratic theory focused on the “politics of peoplehood,” whether written by radical democrats like Laclau or prominent liberal constitutionalist critics (Arato, Urbinati, and others).  The aim of the paper is to reveal the limitations of this widespread model for conceptualizing political collectivity and collective agency, and to put forward an alternative orientation not captured by its central terms and that has been theoretically developed through the competing orientation of praxis.

Thwarting Neoliberalism: Bureaucracy, Malaise, and Other Disappointments
Elisabeth Robin Anker, George Washington University

This paper examines modes of collective agency for thwarting neoliberalism that may seem disappointing or dispiriting from the perspective of revolutionary imaginaries, but still successfully challenge neoliberalism’s evisceration of public life.  Working around unhelpful binaries of agency as either powerless or potent, this paper attends to the bureaucratic, the inept, and the obsolete as challenges to neoliberal developments in American urban spaces.  To examine these uninspiring actions it turns to the problematic television drama about urban life in Baltimore, The Wire, described by its producer as a series about “raw, unencumbered capitalism.” But contrary to what its producers contend, the spread of capital in the show is in no way “unencumbered.”  In The Wire bloated bureaucracies obstruct legal and illegal attempts to smooth capital flows, communities form in mundane ways to successfully thwart neoliberal regulations, and the moral codes of various complex actors refuse to cohere into a market rationality that upholds entrepreneurship and profitmaking, revealing how neoliberal rationality is fundamentally uncompelling.  The Wire, however unwittingly, thus presses scholars of neoliberalism to attend to the uninspiring forces of bureaucratic inertia, community bickering, boredom, underfunded agencies, desires for nonmonetized power, and failed heroic action as potentially productive tactics for challenging neoliberalism. 

Arendt/Carson: Rethinking Collective Action through Environmental Politics
Lida E. Maxwell, Boston University

This essay aims to reconceptualize collective action in the face of climate change by putting the work of Rachel Carson and Hannah Arendt into dialogue. While Carson and Arendt were both high profile public intellectuals, and published essays in the New Yorker in close proximity to each other (excerpts from Silent Spring appeared in 1962, and Arendt’s reports on Eichmann’s trial were published in 1963), neither (as far as I know) ever mentions the work of the other. I examine this literal gap between Arendt and Carson to theorize a gap, or disjuncture, between their work, and the projects (political theory & modern environmentalism) that their work influenced and helped to spark. Specifically, I will suggest that we can find in their work a disjuncture that has largely gone untheorized in contemporary democratic and environmental political theory: a gap between the important categories in modern and contemporary political theory, especially the public/private distinction, and the environmental movement, which de-centers the public/private divide in favor of categories that foreground the importance of meaningful living in both public and private realms: for example, pitting meaningful survival against degraded survival or extinction, and a liveable world against a polluted or poisoned world. Within the purview of environmentalism, the public/private divide is less germane than the survival or non-survival, or pollution or non-pollution, of a world that allows both public and private to flourish.

Thursday, August 29, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

This Mini-Conference explores Right-Wing populism in relationship to the various possibilities for democratic dissent that exist in the international order at present, in foundational theories of democracy and critiques of democracy, and in Left populisms present and past. We propose four 3-paper workshop panels unified by a twofold aim: to explore the possibilities for democratic dissent against Right populism and to analyze the affective dispositions that sustain Right populism. We recognize that these dispositions are not distinctive characteristics of our racist “others” but longstanding, multifarious investments in whiteness that have deep roots in democratic global and national institutions.

Within this broad concern with the affective dispositions that fuel Right populism, we propose a varied array of panels.

  • A first set focuses on the entanglements between Right populism and Left resistance with examples from Turkey and the US. One paper draws on Melanie Klein’s conception of “envy” to analyze Erdogan’s populist government’s ongoing obsession to delegitimize Gezi protests even at the height of its electoral power. Another asks how and to what effect authoritarian populist governments seek to co-opt practices of resistance that first emerge in dissident mobilizations by examining the particular case of the numerous photos that were serviced by the security forces in the aftermath of the Turkish state’s assault on Kurdish towns on Erdogan’s orders. And the third paper in this series looks at conspiracy as a political tactic and examines its possibilities for co-optation.
  • A second set focuses on the histories and intellectual genealogies of both Left and Right populism, emphasizing in particular the racialization of populist subjectivity by the erasure of black Populism from the history of Left populism on the one hand, and by the constitution of “middleness” as white racial identity on the other hand.
  • Our third set of presenters looks at affect and populism. Two papers draw on the analyses of W. E. B. Du Bois to understand the affective attachments that constitute whiteness (e.g. the pleasures in racist violence and the pleasures in luxury that depends on foreign domination) and render it a sustaining force for imperial capitalism. A third looks at the role anxiety plays in populist mobilization, drawing on Hobbes to view anxiety as something that populism does not simply tap but creates.
  • A final set of papers assesses the role grassroots political actors can play in soliciting the dispositions and rendering visible new lines of alliance to support broad-based democratic movement against Right populist and neo-fascist regimes.

This mini-conference assembles a range of scholars at various career stages to provide sharp focused critical commentary to advance the participants’ work toward publication. Seven of the ten presenters already participated in a workshop organized at Ohio State by Benjamin McKean and Inés Valdez in November 2018, thus the mini-conference format would allow for the continuation of an ongoing conversation but now addressing significantly more advanced essays. We do not necessarily envision a collective product such as an edited volume but do envision a sustained and focused discussion that can bring each author closer to submitting their work to an academic journal and contribute to a public conversation on these topics. Over the course of a full day, we will conduct our four 3-paper workshop panels on the “Brookings” format: authors will serve as discussant for other authors’ work; discussants will present authors’ papers; which all participating authors, discussants, and chairs will have read. This format will enable us to encourage a focused discussion that aims not only to develop shared themes across the papers but also to raise disagreements among them, recognizing that the arguments of some papers may pose problems for others or may call another’s premises into question.

Panel 1: Co-Opting Right-Wing Populism as a Tactic for the Left?

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

(Chair) Lisa J. Disch, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; (Discussant) Andrew Poe, Amherst College; (Discussant) Cigdem Cidam, Union College; (Discussant) Nazli Konya, Cornell University

Session Description:

Co-Opting Right-Wing Populism as a Tactic for the Left?


Co-opting Practices of Resistance: Right Wing Populism and Its Grotesque Mimicry of Joyful Dissent
Cigdem Cidam, Union College

Two years after the Gezi Protests, which constituted the most significant challenge to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s then twelve-year long rule, he and the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Paritisi, AKP) received another blow in the parliamentary elections of June 2015. To the surprise of many, the People’s Democratic Party (Halkların Demokrasi Partisi, HDP) became the first political party with a predominantly Kurdish base to pass the ten percent electoral threshold, preventing the AKP from forming a single party government for the first time since it took power. Faced with the risk of losing power, Erdoğan responded swiftly; he first called for a snap “repeat election,” then put an end to the ongoing peace process, resuming the military confrontation between the Kurdish Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, PKK) and state security forces in the South-East of Turkey. Starting in August 2015, the government declared extended curfews, some of which lasted up to 63 days, in various Kurdish towns including Sur, Cizre, Idil, and Nusaybin. Since the security forces geographically sealed off these regions and cut off their telephone and internet access, no communication could be established with the residents of these provinces as the operations continued. Today, we have a clearer idea as to what transpired during this de-facto military siege, partially thanks to the “trophy” photographs taken and disseminated by various members of the special security forces who, perhaps unwittingly, documented the gross human rights violations that they perpetuated. Drawing on the works of Elaine Scarry, Susan Sontag, and Judith Butler, this paper offers a critical analysis of these photographs as material artifacts of torture through which, to use Scarry’s words, “the conversion of real pain into the fiction of power” took place. The dissemination of such insignia of power through social media, I argue, plays an important role in authoritarian populist governments’ efforts to both galvanize their base and further intimidate dissenting voices. In this regard, it is especially telling that most of the publicly shared photos show members of the special security forces posing in front of graffiti that mimicked the innovative and humorous political graffiti that outpoured during the Gezi Protests. The paper concludes by exploring the reasons behind, the effects of, the security forces’ government sanctioned attempt to co-opt and re-purpose this particular practice of resistance that first emerged in a popular uprising whose subversive potential continues to haunt Erdoğan to this day.

Impasses of Political Authority: Erdogan and the Gezi Resistance
Nazli Konya, Cornell University

This paper, Impasses of Political Authority, investigates democratic dissent and authoritarianism by borrowing the tools of psychoanalysis, and argues that political authority can be studied productively by attending to the structure of envy. Drawing insights from authoritarian populist regime in Turkey, my main claim is that what political authority wants for itself is not a mere entitlement to represent “the people” attained, in democracies, by electoral victory. It longs rather for the enjoyment that emerges in popular mobilization.  Former prime minister, now president, Erdogan, after a decade and half of stable electoral success, maintain to vilify, and allege the “illegitimacy” of the oppositional mobilization. Erdogan and party representatives persistently bring up the Gezi Resistance (2013) both to demean it as the other and also, in my view, because Gezi serves as the symbolic form that the party itself aspires to attain. Accordingly, I argue that the governing authority takes this approach to dissident mobilizations because the oppositional energy that moves people into the streets to assemble and stand resilient exceeds, in a non-quantifiable register, the numerical supremacy of the government’s voting base. That excess is exhibited as the collective experience of pleasure. The pleasure of being and acting together is thus enjoyed by another “people,” those who dissent. This pleasure is something that authority cannot appropriate, and thus it remains, for that authority, a lack, a source of envy. Melanie Klein (1928; 1957) defines envy as the pleasure enjoyed by another. As Klein describes, to long for another’s enjoyment is different from longing for an object of desire. When an object is possessed by another, one may feel jealousy, but envy differs from jealousy in being a longing for the enjoyment another possesses. I argue that the vitality of dissident mobilizations reinforces the envy that brings political authority to an impasse even at the height of its electoral power. Authority perceives dissident collectivities as withholding the object of desire— “the people” defined non-electorally—and thus as the reason for its failed gratification. Envy for the dissidents’ enjoyment drives political authority toward authoritarian, and often gratuitous, repression of its opposition. By turning to envy, my paper seeks to explain both the operativity of political authority as well as its susceptibility to authoritarianization.

In a Shared Breath: Conspiracy as a Political Tactic
Andrew Poe, Amherst College

How is conspiracy a political tactic? The most recent iterations of conspiracy – from claims of “rigged elections” to “illegitimate authority” – highlight a strategy that seems to delegitimize political institutions. This has proved an especial useful tactic for the political right, serving as a strong foundation for various iterations of new populisms. In response to such “conservative” conspiracies, some on the left have begun to decry the immorality of conspiracy – that such plots pose a false reality, and engender an undercurrent of violence that works to motivate a destabilizing partisanship. But this response leaves conspiracy itself as a rejected tactic, and ignores the history of leftist conspiracies and their emancipatory potentials. This paper inquires whether and how there may still be a possibility of the left coopting conspiracy as a political tactic. How would a contemporary left conspiracism manifest itself in this new global politics, and what might be risked and gained in the practice? Building on James Martell’s recent reflections on conspiracy, and contrasting this with Nancy Rosenblum’s critique of new conspiracist thinking on the right, I hope to make sense of the political potentialities of conspiracy. I frame this investigation through an exploration of Gilles Deleuze’s notion of the conspiracy of the rebellious subject in a control society.  Using the recent case of the Berkeley Police Department’s conflicts with Antifa protestors, this paper aims to illustrate how the state itself deploys conspiracy, but so too how conspiracy can serve as a tactic for resistance (for both the left and the right).

Populism and Affect

Featured Paper Panel: 30-minute Paper Presentations

Theme Panel

(Chair) Paulina Ochoa Espejo, Haverford College; (Discussant) Ella Myers, University of Utah; (Discussant) Ines Valdez, Ohio State University; (Discussant) Benjamin McKean, Ohio State University

Panel #2: Racializing Populist Subjectivity

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

(Chair) Paulina Ochoa Espejo, Haverford College; (Discussant) Lester Kenyatta Spence, Johns Hopkins University; (Discussant) Kirstine S. Taylor, Ohio University; (Discussant) Joseph E. Lowndes, University of Oregon

Session Description: Racializing Populist Subjectivity


The Strange Career of Middle America
Joseph E. Lowndes, University of Oregon

In this paper I trace the development of a political notion, Middle America, and its impact on U.S. politics over the last half century. At once a rhetorical strategy and electoral demographic, Middle America draws on a populist depiction of white working and middle-class Americans as an aggrieved majority that is beleagured by elites above and dependents below. As the black freedom, feminist and anti-war movements pressed against the New Deal political order, a right-wing populist politics emerged claimed to speak on behalf of law-abiding, tax-paying middle. Drawing from elements on both the right and left in U.S. politics, it has been a crucial trope ever since. At its inception, Middle America was claimed as a broad majoritarian, even centrist political identity. Today, as both the white majority and the middle class are in long term decline, Middle America has come to represent a hard right, often openly racist authoritarianism. While Middle America is generally associated with right-wing appeals, the idea of “middleness” is deeply imbedded in small ‘r’ republican traditions since the Jacksonian era, and with white racial identity more generally. The discursive link between whiteness and independence can be traced to over time in contrast to those seen as parasitic on the body politic, marking off the white (particularly male) citizen as the bearer of republican virtue. Middle America is a decidely populist notion, evincing the contradictions of that term. Scholars alternately depict populism as intolerant, atavistic, and provincial; or as participatory, democratic and aimed at corporate power. Across its half-century long career Middle America has encompassed both. And under conditions of percieved powerlessness in a society that is at once dramatically economically stratified and undergoing racially demographic transformation in terms of racial demographics, a democratic wish is thus yoked to racism and xenophobia for many white Americans. I follow the trajectory of Middle America – as a populist formation in and outside the party system – from its origins as a political response to the black freedom and feminist movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s through its re-emergence as a nativist and anti-trade insurrection in Pat Buchanan’s campaigns in the 1990s to its critical role in the election of Donald Trump in 2016. I demonstrate the ways in which Middle America as a distorted vision of populist egalitarianism has now pushed US politics toward an increasingly authoritarian and racially divided future.

On the Possibilities (and Pitfalls) of ‘Black Populism’
Lester Kenyatta Spence, Johns Hopkins University

Over the past several years we’ve seen an upsurge in black political protest, largely waged against police brutality. While many view this upsurge as suggesting significant progressive possibilities for black politics, few have articulated this upsurge in explicitly populist terms, largely because of the way “populism” has been traditionally understood. In this paper I use the historical example of late 19th century black populism to both reimagine populism, but as important to think through the potential pitfalls of this current black populist moment.

White Populism and Black Despair
Kirstine S. Taylor, Ohio University

Despair is often understood as the absence of hope, the wilting of agency, and the closure of struggle. In short, as we typically understand it, to be in despair is to be already defeated by the world and one’s circumstances in it. But in this paper, I am interested in understanding what kind of political work despair does in the black radical tradition, especially in the face of resurgent white populism. I situate my investigation in the mid-twentieth century, at a time when white populism took the form of white citizens’ councils and “massive resistance” to Brown v. Board of Education. Writing in the face of these and other challenges, James Baldwin offers a unique window into the peculiar role despair plays in critiquing the politics of innocence embraced by white populists and offering insurgent visions of black democratic challenge. Drawing on the use of popular black music (the blues and jazz in the early to mid-twentieth century) in James Baldwin’s political thought, I argue that contrary to our popular understandings, despair can be a critical and paradoxically galvanizing force in the black radical tradition. It offers both a critique of mainstream narratives of racial progress and an opening for radical, sometimes militant and triumphant, re-imaginations of black freedom and agency.

Panel #3: Populism and Affect

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


Populism and the Anxiety of Equality
Benjamin McKean, Ohio State University

Prevailing explanations of the contemporary populist upsurge tend to portray it as a response to rising anxiety. Some, like John Judis, argue that this anxiety is economic, driven by dissatisfaction with decades of rising inequality and stagnant wages in the developed world. Others, like Diana Mutz, argue that this is better understood as a kind of status anxiety, as white men respond to demands for equality and, in the US, the election of the first black president. A third group, exemplified by Chantal Mouffe, argues that neoliberal economics shrinks the space of the political, explaining populism of right and left as a necessary eruption of the political in the face of its repression. Each of these explanations have something to recommend them, but all these views also share a common, crucial flaw: all of them understand politics as a response to anxieties with causes outside politics and, as a result, none of them consider politics itself as a source of anxieties. This results in one-sided views of populism that both lack explanatory power and are normatively troubling. For example, there turns out to be surprisingly weak evidence that supporters of populism are themselves in economically precarious positions. And understanding populism as a response to racism suggests that populism merely takes instrumental advantage of pre-existing racism but absolves it of a foundational role in the rise of status anxiety. In this paper, I argue that we can address some of the weaknesses of these accounts by coming to see populist politics as itself generative of anxieties rather than merely responding to them. In particular, some populist movements imagine popular sovereignty entailing forms of political equality that are especially prone to produce anxiety. On this model, political equality requires a fearful watchfulness to assure that no one deviates from equality, lest that upset the equilibrium of society. I trace this conception of political equality to its roots in Hobbes, who roots natural equality in the possibility of murder and frames popular sovereignty as softening, but not ending, these anxieties by transforming natural equality into competitive, status-conscious political equality. Tocqueville adds to Hobbes’s account of the anxiety of popular sovereignty by showing how democratic equality itself can intensify racism. To find another path, I turn to Foucault’s account of the difference between domination and other power relations; I argue that conceptualizing democratic political status doesn’t require precisely equal levels of power and acknowledging this may avoid reproducing the anxiety that powers some reactionary populist movements.

The Struggle for Multiracial Democracy & the Specter of White Sadism: Re-Reading Du Bois in the 21st Century
Ella Myers, University of Utah

W.E.B. Du Bois’s account of compensatory whiteness within an American regime of racial capitalism has been enormously influential. Black Reconstruction (1935) famously argued that whiteness served as a “public and psychological wage” in the U.S., delivering to poor whites a sense of status dependent on their classification as “not-black.” This thesis shaped many analyses of American political culture, including post-2016 accounts that posit a contemporary “whitelash” or probe the vexed conditions under which multi-racial democratic coalitions might be built today. This paper complicates the conceptualization of whiteness-as-metaphorical-wage associated with Du Bois by investigating his insights into what he deemed the “irrational” qualities of anti-black racism. I turn to Du Bois’s middle-period work, which alleges that “unconscious” and “subconscious” forces help uphold America’s tenacious racial order. In particular, I reflect on Du Bois’s treatment of anti-black brutality and his disturbing suggestion that it serves as a source of white comfort and enjoyment, a problem that seems to have haunted Du Bois’s writing for decades. Tending to the problem of “white sadism” as it appears in Du Bois’s work, against the backdrop of his more-well known Marxist commitments, offers a new angle on contemporary interpretations of the U.S. racial order. The first of these holds that antiblack racism operates primarily as a tool of capitalist social control that rewards whites, however poor, for their allegiance to an abusive economic regime. This interpretation is challenged by the thesis which contends that antiblack racism obeys no such “logic” and is animated instead by base cruelty directed at black persons who remain symbolically marked as “enslaveable.” Popular debates over Trump’s election, especially on the left, have played out along these lines, between commentators who mobilize a “wages of whiteness” argument to explain Trump’s support among voters seemingly disadvantaged by his policies and those who reject this class-based analysis to argue that sheer racist animus, fueled by generations of white supremacy that traverses economic divisions, enabled Trump’s election. Can Du Bois help us think through the relationship between these propositions? Does the “irrationality” he uncovers render the “wages of whiteness” explanation wholly inadequate? Or might his work model a both/and approach that captures the plural, inconsistent dynamics by which racial hierarchies are made and re-made? Finally, what might this mean for the question that persistently animated Du Bois’s massive and varied body of work: what actions are required if we all are to be free?

Populism and Empire: Du Bois, Racial Capitalism, and Global Affect
Ines Valdez, Ohio State University

The global (i.e., migration, refugee flows, trade, and other forms of international integration) has emerged as a central site of affective attachments that have, in turn, sustained the growth and currency of right-wing populist agendas in Western democracies. Aware of this problem, responses have put forward nostalgic accounts that either return to New Deal social democracy or a golden age of Western internationalism to counter to this trend. These accounts, however, do not consider the racialized character of the nostalgic projects that they put forward, i.e., the racially exclusionary character of socially progressive projects in the first half of the twentieth century, and the imperial origins of Western internationalism. I put forward a genealogy of the joint development of increasingly democratic and social enfranchisement and imperial endeavors through W. E. B. Du Bois’s writings on democratic and global affect. These essays, written during the First World War and the interwar period, theorize a racial capitalism that is at the root of both social democracy and internationalism in the West. Racism and capitalism structure exclusionary democracies who operate despotically toward external racialized others in ways that redefine the meaning of popular sovereignty. This popular sovereignty is “excessive” in the sense that it includes a claim to self-government but also a claim to govern others, or what I call “self-and-other-determination.” This form of government relies on global affective attachments that mediate inwardly democratic relationships with outwardly despotic ones in ways that still structure relationships of Western countries with the rest of the world. Based on these insights, I argue that the present crisis can be understood as a crisis of global justice. This is not because the project of global justice was successful and currently faces a crisis, but because the populist response to neoliberalism shows the continuity of certain affective attachments that are resistant to global projects of a democratic and egalitarian kind.

Panel #4: Grassroots Reformulations of “the People”

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

(Chair) Lisa J. Disch, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; (Discussant) Thea Nadja Riofrancos, Providence College; (Discussant) Edwina Barvosa, University of California, Santa Barbara; (Discussant) Paul C. Apostolidis, London School of Economics


Precarity, Neo-Fascism, and a Non-Populist Politics of the People
Paul C. Apostolidis, London School of Economics

This paper conceptualizes a form of popular-democratic politics capable of opposing Trumpist neo-fascism and the precarity that fuels neo-fascist loyalties, drawing on my field research with migrant day laborers in the US and vibrant currents in Latin American political theory. I argue that the interpretive frame of “populism” impedes a sufficiently critical sense of both the specifically neo-fascist dynamics of Trumpism and the distinctive politics of “the people” needed to forge anti-fascist alternatives. First, the paper places Lia Haro and Romand Coles’s critique of Trumpian neo-fascism in dialogue with my own research on the features of precarity that migrant day laborers thematize as well as with other examinations of the new fascism (e.g., by William Connolly and Robyn Marasco). I show how the contradictory temporal morphology of precarious everyday work-life invites receptive responses to the dynamics of hyper-intensified shock, nominalist sovereignty, and resonant violence that characterize the new fascism. Neo-fascism also thrives on the socially dualized structure of precarity, which involves both aspects that target some groups (such as migrant workers) for exceptionally harsh treatment and tendencies that produce severe difficulties for working people at large. Second, the paper contends that popular-democratic practices promoted by day labor organizations, grounded in Paulo Freire’s notion of popular education, and enacting the counter-hegemonic politics theorized by Enrique Dussel signal pathways for building a potent anti-fascist alternative. Freire explicitly conceives of popular education as anti-“populist” in that it instigates intellectual subject-hood and political leadership by the excluded and oppressed rather than conscripting these groups into passive allegiance to authoritarian leaders who claim to speak for them. In turn, Dussel’s conception of a counter-hegemonic politics of “the people” clarifies how to confront a pivotal challenge of anti-fascist organizing, in a way that nonetheless harmonizes with Freirean anti-populism: the task of politicizing the uncanny symmetries (while also recognizing key distinctions) between the exceptional precarity endured by certain groups and more ubiquitous precarious conditions. For Dussel, such a mass-scale politics depends on continual modifications of the people’s understanding of its own identity (which he calls “potentia”) by upswellings of power from the most extreme social margins (which he terms “hyper-potentia”). Counter-hegemonic organizing animated by popular education, I argue, thus generates a richly democratic but non-populist politics of “the people” that cultivates from within precaritized situations the power to turn back neo-fascism and establish new political horizons.

From Los Pueblos to El Pueblo: Indigenous Movements and Left-Populist Mobilization in Bolivia and Ecuador
Thea Nadja Riofrancos, Providence College

Right Populist Racism as Catalyst for Large-Scale US Public Reflection on Racial Injustice
Edwina Barvosa, University of California, Santa Barbara

The recent upsurge in right populist racism in the US has fostered both a rise in racist and anti-Semitic violence, and a greater diversity of people engaged in public outcry and protest against these hatreds. This dual development raises a question: Can increasingly extreme populist displays of racial hostility trigger new mainstream public reflection and action on ongoing racial hierarchies among Americans previously inattentive to racial injustice? This paper explores evidence that the racist dimensions of current US right populism may have unintended positive consequences for mainstream public reflection on inherited social bias and inequity. If so, in turn, this has implications for democratic dissent against right populism. It also offers potential new insights into how the affective dispositions that sustain right populism – including mainstream inaction on racial injustice – may shift as extremism reenergizes existing practices of popular education and new forms of public reasoning.

Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


(Chair) Amel F. Ahmed, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; (Presenter) Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Susan C. Stokes, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Universidad Diego Portales; (Presenter) Jeffrey C. Isaac, Indiana University, Bloomington; (Presenter) Staffan I. Lindberg, University of Gothenburg; (Presenter) Anna Luehrmann, University of Gothenburg

Proposed Participants and Paper Titles:

  • Lisa Wedeen
  • Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser
  • Jeff Isaac
  • Susan Stokes
  • Staffan Lindberg
  • Amel Ahmed (chair)

Session Description:
Discussions of democracy and dictatorship often suggest a rather rigid boundary between regime categories. Yet the current populist moment has thrown much of the received wisdom into doubt. Populist movements that seek to speak on behalf of the people are often cast as undemocratic, yet the institutionalized oligarchies they seek to displace can also be seen as posing threats to democracy. In this context, the panel seeks to understand what the current populist moment can tell us about the categories of democracy and dictatorship. Is this binary a useful one? Are regime characteristics discreet or can they overlap? How might we conceptualize political change beyond the regime binary? By bringing together a broad range of democracy scholars, this panels aims to explore more nuanced approaches to understanding regime categories.

Saturday, August 31, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.


(Chair) Lorrie Frasure-Yokley; (Presenter) Jane Y. Junn, University of Southern California; (Presenter) Todd C. Shaw, University of South Carolina; (Presenter) Christina Elizabeth Bejarano, University of Kansas; (Presenter) Ricardo Ramirez, University of Notre Dame; (Presenter) Bradford S. Jones, University of California, Davis; (Presenter) Michael C. Dawson, University of Chicago; (Presenter) Candis Watts Smith, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; (Presenter) Gabriel Sanchez, University of New Mexico; (Chair) Natalie Masuoka, University of California, Los Angeles

Session Description:
The goal of this themed panel (roundtable format) is to recognize and discuss the theory of linked-fate in the context of the 25th anniversary of Michael C. Dawson’s pioneering book Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African American Politics (1994). The 2019 APSA Annual Meeting aligns with the August 2019 issue of the journal Politics, Groups, and Identities (PGI) titled, “Dialogues: Linked fate and the Politics of Groups and Identities.”  This issue will featuring a collection of 7 co-authored short essays, as well as a reflection and look forward by Michael C. Dawson. While Dawson emphasized perceptions of “linked fate” for African Americans, for nearly 25 years his theory has gained enormous prominence and, in particular, is used to examine a wide-range of political behaviors and public opinions for Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Whites.

Each essay will feature data from the pioneering 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS). The 2016 CMPS was the first cooperative, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, post-election online survey in race, ethnicity and politics (REP) in the United States.  The survey includes large and generalizable samples of Blacks (n=3,102), Latinos (n=3,003), Asian and Pacific Islander (n=3,006), and Whites (n=1,034) which allow for the analysis of an individual racial group, or comparative analysis across groups.  The new measures in the 2016 CMPS related to linked fate within and across racial/ethnic groups, immigrants, LGBTQ groups, etc., raises questions about our conceptualizations of linked fate, and the extent to which linked fate works the same way for various racial/ethnic groups and identity types.

This proposed themed panel roundtable aligns with and can inform timely and important theoretical and empirical questions related to the 2019 theme of Populism and Privilege. Twenty-five years later, we will discuss the ways in which Behind the Mule continues to be instrumental to the discipline of political science and the social sciences more broadly, as well as it’s limitations to our understanding of group identity.

We will bring together a diverse group of 7 contributing scholars to the journal issue in dialogue with Michael C. Dawson to discuss new findings related to his groundbreaking theory of group identity and interests.  Panelist will include the following lead authors of 7 research teams: Christina Bejarano (University of Kansas), Jane Junn (University of Southern California), Brad Jones (UC-Davis), Ricardo Ramirez (Notre Dame), Gabriel R. Sanchez (New Mexico) Todd Shaw (South Carolina), Candis Watts Smith (UNC-Chapel Hill). We anticipate their co-authors will be present in the audience.

The special editors of the PGI journal section and the co-organizers of this themed panel roundtable are Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, Natalie Masuoka, and Matt Barreto, all from UCLA.

We are pleased to collaborate with PGI journal editors, Nadia Brown and Valeria Sinclair-Chapman as well as APSA Diversity and Inclusion Programs for this themed panel roundtable.

Friday, August 30, 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Panel #1: Diversity and Inclusion Hackathon Reunion Roundtable

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

(Presenter) Mala Htun, University of New Mexico; (Presenter) Kathleen Thelen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; (Presenter) Alvin B. Tillery, Northwestern University; (Presenter) Michael Chwe, UCLA; (Presenter) Christina M. Greer, Fordham University; (Presenter) Sherri L. Wallace, University of Louisville; (Presenter) Yusaku Horiuchi, Dartmouth College; (Presenter) Leah R Rosenzweig, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; (Presenter) Veronica Czastkiewicz, University of Colorado Colorado Springs; (Presenter) Yang-Yang Zhou, Princeton University; (Presenter) Jenna Bednar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; (Presenter) Suzanna Linn, Pennsylvania State University

Session Description:
The APSA Diversity and Inclusion Hackathon of 2018 engaged more than 200 scholars from a range of backgrounds, social identities, institutions, ranks, and beliefs in the generation of new norms, programmatic ideas, and plans for the profession. On this roundtable, representatives from hackathon teams will discuss the products generated at the hackathon, their impact on diversity and inclusion, and how to move forward.

Panel #2: Recruiting and Supporting Faculty of Color

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

(Presenter) Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Purdue University;  (Presenter) Wendy G. Smooth, The Ohio State University; (Presenter) Wendy Wong, University of Toronto; (Presenter) Luis Ricardo Fraga, University of Notre Dame

 Panel #3: Roundtable on Advancing Gender Equity in the Profession

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession

(Presenter) Nadia E. Brown, Purdue University; (Presenter) Michael Chwe, UCLA; (Presenter) Michelle L. Dion, McMaster University; (Presenter) Katherine Gallagher, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; (Presenter) Yanna Krupnikov, Stony Brook University

Session Description:
We know a great deal about the implicit bias, exclusion, harassment, and unwelcoming climates that contribute to leaky pipelines and unequal conditions for women (and minorities) in the profession. We know less about which strategies are most effective to tackle these problems. Participants at this roundtable will present, analyze, and evaluate different interventions that universities and other organizations have adopted to promote diversity and inclusion, as well as advance women’s status, in political science and other disciplines.

Panel #4: Roundtable on the Identity Politics of Political Science

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

(Presenter) Lisa Garcia Bedolla, University of California, Berkeley; (Presenter) Mala Htun, University of New Mexico; (Presenter) Jane Y. Junn, University of Southern California; (Presenter) Julia S. Jordan-Zachery, University of North Carolina Charlotte; (Presenter) Christian Davenport, University of Michigan

Session Description:
This panel deals with the interplay between identity, methodology, areas of study and status within the discipline.

These issues are explored in relation to various markers of achievement in the profession ranging from journal rankings, citations counts, disciplinary awards, and recognition of scholarly contributions.  Presenters will offer insights into the ways in which organizational hierarchies operate in relation to social identity and as well as the consequences for graduate student training, hiring, publication, tenure and promotion, and other professional pursuits.

Panel #5: Presidential Plenary: “The Status of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Discipline”

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

(Chair) Amel F. Ahmed, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; (Chair) Christopher S. Parker, University of Washington; (Presenter) Dianne M. Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame; (Presenter) Rodney E. Hero, Arizona State University; (Presenter) Kathleen Thelen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; (Presenter) Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania; (Presenter) Paula D. McClain, Duke University

Session Description:
This will bring together past, present, and future APSA presidents to discuss where the field stands, the challenges ahead, and new direction the institution can take to advance equity and inclusion.

Saturday, August 31, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


(Presenter) Santiago Anria, Dickinson College; (Presenter) Angelica Maria Bernal, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; (Presenter) Tianna Paschel, University of California, Berkeley; (Presenter) Thea Nadja Riofrancos, Providence College; (Chair) Katherine Adams Gordy, San Francisco State University

Session Description:
Perhaps more than in any other region, Latin American left-wing populisms challenge rigid conceptualizations about the relationship between populism and democracy. Discussions about inequality, political incorporation, charismatic leadership, pluralism and popular mobilization find in the Latin American cases a fertile ground. Some of the questions this panel will engage with include: What are the legacies of these left-wing populisms in their countries and beyond? What does this legacy tell us about the relationship between populism and democracy? What lessons can be drawn from the Latin American cases to bear on discussions about the rise of right-wing populisms?

Saturday, August 31, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
(Chair) Andrew F. March, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; (Presenter) Aysen Candas, Yale University, Bogazici University; (Presenter) Heba Raouf Ezzat; (Presenter) Ellen M. Lust, University of Gothenburg; (Presenter) Tarek E. Masoud, Harvard University; (Presenter) Jillian M. Schwedler, Hunter College; (Presenter) Samer S. Shehata, University of Oklahoma

Session Description:
Popular mobilizations throughout the Middle East and North Africa have transformed the region and led to the ouster of entrenched oligarchs in several countries. Yet they have left unsettled many questions regarding who represents the people, and what this representation ought to look like. Leaders across the political spectrum, from Islamists to secular nationalists, have sought to enlist these new forces in their political projects. This panel offers a range of perspectives on the significance of popular mobilization in the region and how it relates to the rise of populist governments. Some of questions the panel hopes to address include: Does the rise of populist leaders signal a return to the past or a break from it? Is it economic or cultural claims that most animate these movements? How has the legacy of the Arab Spring been used by leaders in various countries to mobilize and demobilize social forces?

Thursday, August 29, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


(Chair) R. Daniel Kelemen, Rutgers University, New Brunswick; (Discussant) Noam Gidron, Hebrew University

Session Description:
In recent years, journalist and observers have commented on the growing convergence of nationalism and populism in political systems around the world, a change most readily apparent in the emergence of leaders such as US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, among others. Although scholars have gestured at the relationship between nationalism and populism, most empirical work focuses on their coincidence (Mudde 2007; Ionescu and Gellner 1969; Inglehart and Norris, 2016). A new strand of populist scholarship holds that populism and nationalism are orthogonal discursive antagonisms—nationalism as an “in versus out” horizontal antagonisms constructed  between different ethnic or cultural groups, and populism an “up versus down” vertical antagonisms of “the people” versus “the elites” (Jansen, 2011; De Cleen and Stavrakakis, 2017; Katsambekis and Stavrakakis, 2017; Brubaker 2017). However, the conceptual and empirical work on their intersection is still in its infancy (Rooduijn 2018; Bonikowski et al. 2018).

The papers on this panel takes up this challenge in a number of ways. Bonikowski analyzes the ways in which different conceptions of American nationhood shaped respondents’ preferences in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and how the election outcome shaped broader national conceptions. Chryssogelos examines the disparate foreign policy effects of populism and nationalism through a longitudinal analysis of Greek foreign policy over the past century. Stroschein develops a taxonomy of ethnic, religious and nationalist parties and assesses their overlap with populist parties. Finally, Jenne, Hawkins and Silva present the preliminary results of an original dataset of nationalist and populist rhetoric of thirty-six European and North American government leaders to test for foreign policy impacts of populist and nationalist rhetoric articulated both separately and together.


The Polarization of Nationalist Cleavages in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Bart Bonikowski, Harvard University

Research in political science has acknowledged the importance of ethno-nationalism (or more commonly, nativism) as a constitutive element of radical-right politics, but it has typically reduced this phenomenon to its downstream correlates, like attitudes toward ethnic and religious minorities or immigration policy preferences. Sociologists, on the other hand, have extensively studied nationalism as a feature of political culture, but have not weighed in on debates about institutional politics, and the radical-right in particular. In this study, I bring these literatures together by considering how multiple conceptions of American nationhood shaped respondents’ voting preferences in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and how the election outcome built on long-term changes in the distribution of nationalist beliefs in the U.S. population. The results suggest that competing definitions of nationhood constitute important cultural cleavages that have become effective mobilized by candidates from both parties. In particular, I show that exclusionary varieties of nationalism were strongly predictive of Trump support in the Republican primary and the general election, while disengagement from the nation was predictive of Sanders support in the Democratic primary. Moreover, nationalism has become sorted by party: over the past twenty years, respondents identifying with the Republican Party have become predominantly ethno-nationalist, while those identifying with the Democratic Party have come to increasingly espouse creedal and disengaged conceptions of nationhood. The mutual reinforcement of nationalist cleavages with other sources of cultural and demographic distinction represents a potential danger for the long-term stability of U.S. democracy. More broadly, this research demonstrates that to understand the 2016 presidential election—and contemporary American political culture—scholars should take nationalism seriously as a primary source of collective identification and political behavior.

Disentangling Populism and Nationalism as Discourses of Foreign Policy
Angelos Stylianos Chryssogelos, Harvard University

In the current political climate, populism and nationalism are often lumped together in journalistic accounts and public debates as phenomena challenging international cooperation, European integration, and the institutions of global governance. This paper argues that, while populism and nationalism have significant similarities and overlaps, they are analytically distinct in some key respects that also carry important policy implications. The main similarity between populism and nationalism is their focus on sovereignty as the supreme value of politics. As such, both can be viewed as phenomena that prima facie inhibit international cooperation and potentially fuel conflict in the international system. However, there are important differences in how the ‘people’ and the ‘nation’ are articulated as discursive frames and political strategies. Drawing primarily on the work of Laclau, this paper argues that populism can be distinguished from nationalism in that the political community it mobilizes is temporally and territorially circumscribed and parochial. Despite its obvious exclusionary nature, nationalism on the other hand is a discursive frame with a more universal perspective in space and time of the political community it represents. Second, populism and nationalism differ substantially in how they view the relationship between the political community and the state as the main actor of international politics and the locus of political contestation. Taken together, these two differences imply that populism and nationalism can cue quite different attitudes with regards to national foreign policy, incl. policy towards internal ethnic minorities and ethnic kin living as minorities abroad. The article illustrates its argument through a historical comparative analysis of cases of nationalism and populism in Greek foreign policy from the early twentieth century to today.

When are Parties Ethnic, National, Religious, or Populist?
Sherrill Stroschein, University College London

Political Science literature on parties has understood them as institutions that aggregate interests, reflecting societal cleavages. The comparative politics cannon has covered the dynamics of party systems from this perspective (Lipset and Rokkan 1967, Sartori 1976), including some influences of electoral systems (Horowitz 1985, Reilly 2001). Ethnic parties have not been well-incorporated into the general study of party systems. In his consideration of party systems in terms of ideology, Kitschelt (1992) places them on the more particularist / authoritarian side of the spectrum, in contrast to a more cosmopolitan orientation. But not all ethnic or national parties are the same – some might be more cosmopolitan than others. Their potential for difference means that we need to think harder in terms of how to categorize parties with an identity premise. When is an ethnic party a nationalist party? Can a religious party be liberal or cosmopolitan? What is a populist or right-wing party in relation to these categories? The purpose of this piece is twofold. First, I will establish the conceptual boundaries with which we might better understand some of the differences and similarities between these categories of parties. If populist parties espouse a version of nationalism, can we use some of the extensive literature on ethnic, nationalist, and religious parties to understand populism (Horowitz 1985, Chandra 2004, Birnir 2007)? Or, does the anti-elite aspect (Mudde 2007) or the anti-pluralist streak (Muller 2016) of populist parties mean that we must study them as very different phenomena from ethnic, religious, and nationalist parties? The purpose will be to set up a typology by which we might better categorize these parties in relation to each other. Second, once this party typology is established, I will sketch some of the implications of these different potential party categories on party system dynamics, starting with established work on party systems by Sartori (1976) and Kitschelt (1992). Examples in the piece will be drawn from across Western and Eastern Europe.

Mapping Populist and Nationalist Rhetoric Across Thirty-Six Democracies
Erin K. Jenne, Central European University; Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University; Bruno de Paula Castanho Silva, University of Cologne

What happens when state executives use populist rhetoric in their public addresses, framing political issues as a Manichean struggle between the “pure people” and “evil elites”? Does it matter if they also use nationalist rhetoric–framing political issues as atavistic “us-versus-them” struggles between ethnic groups? Following contemporary trends in the literature, we argue that populism and nationalism are most profitably studied as discursive frames, and that these frames do significant ideational work when employed in state leaders’ public addresses. Our starting assumption is that political leaders use these frames both separately and together to reinscribe the shape of the sovereign community to gain popular support for major policy change. We hypothesize that such framing has predictable policy impacts, including a generalized shift toward more protectionist trade policies, immigration restrictions and minority rights reduction (nationalism), and the concentration of political power through clientelism, restrictions of media freedom, and  reductions in judicial independence (populism). This paper distills a preliminary analysis of an original dataset of holistically coded speeches of government leaders across a selection of North American and European countries, from 2000 to present. To gather these data, we trained 66 country experts to code public speeches of chief executives across governments in thirty-six North American and European countries using Hawkins’ (2009) method of holistic grading. After summarizing the data, we conduct a series of tests of hypothesized policy effects of populist and nationalist discourse drawing on expectations from the literature. These data will offer insights into the governmental utility of these discursive devices–used together and separately.

Saturday, August 31, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


(Chair) Christopher M. Federico, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; (Presenter) Matt A. Barreto, University of California, Los Angeles; (Presenter) Terri E Givens, Independent; (Presenter) Marc J. Hetherington, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; (Presenter) Pippa Norris, Harvard University and University of Sydney

Session Description:
The growing electoral success of populist parties and candidates has had a profound impact on politics at a global level in recent years. From the UK electorate’s decision to exit the EU and Donald Trump’s unexpected election to the US presidency in 2016 to more-recent victories by populists in nations as diverse as Italy and Brazil, populism has upended politics-as-usual in a variety of contexts.

Though the present wave of populist parties and candidates champion a variety of ideological agendas—some tending to the left, and others to the right—all emphasize a fundamental antagonism between a sclerotic, corrupt “elite” and a pure “people.” Despite variation, one of the most common (but not inevitable) features of today’s populist current is an underlying psychology authoritarianism: a yearning for social cohesion and the preservation of traditional identities and worldviews in the face of rapid normative and demographic change. This manifests itself politically in some of the key appeals of populist political figures and movements—in particular, nationalism laced with hostility toward immigrants, refugees, and minorities and a willingness to dispense with the norms and restraints of liberal democracy.

In this panel, we explore the nexus of populism, authoritarianism, and group antagonism with an eye to the conference theme of “populism and privilege.” To obtain a broad-spectrum look at the phenomenon, we draw on theory and tools from a variety of subfields, ranging from comparative political behavior to political psychology.

Friday, August 30, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 15: European Politics and Society

(Chair) Erik Jones, Johns Hopkins University; (Discussant) Gabriel Goodliffe, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico

Session Description:
The rise of populism and the decline of popular identification with Europe have become two of the most important themes in contemporary European politics both at the domestic level and across the European Union as a whole.  The challenge is to understand why these developments are occurring now and what will be the implications.  This panel starts and ends by looking at the relationship between changing patterns of economic governance and changing dynamics of political organization.  In between, the papers explore the relationship between shared perceptions of history and common identification, the uniqueness of the Southern European experience, and the inevitable comparison between Southern Europe and Northern Europe.


The Economics of European Populism: Growth Regimes and Party System Change
Jonathan Hopkin, London School of Economics; Mark Blyth, Brown University

Recent work in comparative and international political economy has rediscovered the importance of distinct ‘growth models’ and forged a link between the rise and decline of specific macroeconomic regimes/growth models and attendant forms of politics, specifically, the rise of populism across the globe in recent years. In this paper, we more fully explore the link between populism and growth regimes. We argue that populism as a political movement in Europe did not start with the 2007-8 crisis, but had been growing continuously since at least the 1980s in the form of Green Parties, various National Fronts, and an assortment of so-called Progress Parties. Second, we claim that populism, in the form of a political claim that only the ‘big man’ can look out for the ‘little guy,’ is not really the phenomenon Europe is experiencing. Instead, drawing on earlier work that we have both authored on the shift from parties of mass-integration to catch all to cartel parties, we show that there is a link between the evolution of growth regimes and changes in European party systems. Specifically, we will argue that the 1945-1977 growth regime co-evolved with a particular type of party and party system, one that turned mass parties of integration into catch-all parties of electoral competition and public good provision. We then argue that developments in the post 1977 growth regime caused these party forms to become mal-adapted to their new environment, and as the new growth regime evolved it demanded further changes in party form in order to survive, the optimal form before the financial crisis being the emergence of cartel parties. We specify the causal logic behind these claims and use that to more fully explain the rise of populism in Europe in several contemporary cases. In short, rather, than see the new politics of populism as solely related to post-financial crisis adjustment, we extend this argument and see populism in Europe as an instance of party system transformation driven by the rise of anti-system parties claiming to challenge the neoliberal cartel.

Common Past, Shared Future? WWII Remembrance & Support for European Cooperation
Catherine E. De Vries, Free University Amsterdam

Does remembrance of the Second World War (WWII) enhance support for European cooperation? Based on the notion of benchmarking, this study suggests that reminding people of the devastations of WWII should increase their support for European cooperation today. This is because people’s evaluations of their country’s membership in the European Union are conditional on their evaluations of a possible alternative state, their country outside the EU. Because the alternative state is fundamentally based on counterfactual, people need to benchmark it. Information about the devastations of WWII provides people with a negative historical benchmark for what an alternative state might look like. By presenting evidence from a set of novel survey experiments that were conducted in the six largest member states (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom) in July 2017, this contribution shows that exposure to a negative historical benchmark, based on reminding people of the devastations of WWII, increases support for their country’s cooperation in Europe as expected. Yet, this is only the case when more cooperation is frame in financial terms, by providing assistance for other member states in dire economic need. Being exposed to information about the devastations of WWII does not make people more willing to extend the rights to EU migrants or contribute to the establishment of an European army. These findings highlight the potential transactional nature of public opinion about the EU, and cast doubt about reform proposals aimed at deepening the free movement of people and security cooperation in Europe.

Southern European Populism: Not the Same Home
Simona Guerra, University of Leicester; Simona Guerra, University of Leicester

Populism has gained new momentum in Western Europe during the financial crisis. Germany’s role as top creditor fuelled anger, anxiety, and accusation towards traditional political forces and elites in Greece. Podemos exploited the same crisis in Spain to ‘generate discursively a popular identity that [could] be politicized along electoral lines’ (Iglesias 2015). Similar contested debates emerged in Italy, with a harsh campaign against the Eurozone during the 2014 European Parliament elections. All these cases bring together Euroscepticism, populism and in some cases implicit references to nationalism. Drawing upon Derrida’s notions of aporia and hospitality, this article argues that these forms of Southern European populism projects a home of the people that is at the same time inclusive and exclusive towards an antagonistic Other. This Other, both threatening and welcomed at the home of the people, oscillates ambiguously between images of the EU and corrupted political elites. To support this argument, our narrative proceeds with comparative deconstructive discourse analysis, looking at speeches of their political leaders in the run-up of elections that have seen them successful, in Greece, Spain, and Italy.

The Rise of Illiberal Forces in Europe: The Cases of Germany and Spain
Miguel Otero-Iglesias, IE University

Spain and Germany are two strongholds against populist and illiberal anti-establishment, anti-elite and anti-EU forces in Europe. The reasons were similar. Both countries had a relatively recent authoritarian past (the Nazi regime in Germany and the Franco Dictatorship in Spain), their populations were hesitant to embrace the national flag because of this past, but also because of strong regional identities and both had pro-EU populations under the understanding that national problems and tensions (or responsibility in foreign affairs) could be solved or delegated to the European level. This has changed in the past five years. While in “rich” Germany the nationalist Alternative für Deutschland has more than 10% (and in some Länder even more than 20%) of the vote share, in “poorer” Spain there is no extreme-right wing party yet. This paper wants to investigate this divergent trajectory. Is Spain (with Portugal) the exception in Europe, or is it just in an earlier stage of the anti-immigration cycle? Is the key variable that Spain is a so-called debtor country in the EU and this makes it a more altruist country vis-à-vis immigrants and refugees? Or is it just that Spain receives mostly immigrants and refugees (now especially from Venezuela) from Latin America, who settle easier, while most of the north and sub-Saharan immigrants move north? These are the kind of questions that this paper tries to answer.

Friday, August 30, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


(Presenter) Julia Rezazadeh Azari, Marquette University; (Presenter) Desmond King, University of Oxford; (Presenter) Alvin B. Tillery, Northwestern University; (Presenter) Rick Valelly, Swarthmore College; (Presenter) Katherine J Cramer, University of Wisconsin, Madison; (Chair) Didi Kuo, Stanford University

Session Description:
This panel seeks to understand the historical antecedents of the current populist moment in the United States. Looking at instances of popular mobilization on the left and the right, some of the questions that the group aims to address include: To what extent have economic vs cultural claims animated populist movements? What is unique about the current moment and what represents enduring dynamics of American political development? How have populist mobilizations in past been harnessed in the service of democracy, and how have they detracted?

Friday, August 30, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

(Discussant) Sofia Näsström, Uppsala University; (Chair) Angelica Maria Bernal, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Proposed Participants and Paper Titles:

  • Jason Frank, “The People as Popular Manifestation”
  • Nadia Urbinati, “People/People-ism”
  • Kevin Olson, “Imagine All the People:  Conceptual Instabilities at the Heart of Populism.”
  • Jane Mansbridge  and Stephen Macedo, “Populism and Democratic Theory: An Analysis and Conceptual Mapping”

Session Description:

With all of the ambiguity in discussions about what counts as populism, it is at least clear that an appeal to the people as the ultimate grounds of political authority is one of its distinctive traits. This begs a return to fundamental questions of democratic theory about what the people are, and how their power can be enacted.  Some of the questions this panel aims to engage with include: How can we interpret this return of “the people” as a central category of politics? What are the notions of the people that are being envisioned in this populist moment? Does this return of the people hold any promise for democratic rejuvenation?


  • The People as Popular Manifestation
    Jason Frank, Cornell University
  • People/People-ism
    Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University
  • Imagine All the People:  Conceptual Instabilities at the Heart of Populism
    Kevin Olson, University of California, Irvine
  • Populism and Democratic Theory: An Analysis and Conceptual Mapping
    Jane Mansbridge, Harvard Kennedy School; Stephen Macedo, Princeton University

Saturday, August 31, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 11: Comparative Politics

(Chair) Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Universidad Diego Portales; (Discussant) Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University

Session Description:
In the last few years, scholars have been paying increasing attention to the rise of populism in different places of the world. This extant scholarship has been making important empirical, methodological and theoretical innovations by examining the demand for populism at the mass level. In fact, there is a growing number of studies that measure populist attitudes via surveys to better understand why certain citizens endorse populist ideas, and the impact of populist attitudes on aspects such as voting behavior, partisan preferences and democratic support. This panel brings together papers that measure populist attitudes in different countries and world regions with the aim of showing the state of the art on this topic as well as new avenues of research.


The Relationship between Perceived Representation and Populist Attitudes
Bruno de Paula Castanho Silva, University of Cologne; Christopher Wratil, University of Cologne

The rise of populism is often linked to representation gaps. Due to endogeneity between populism and perceptions of representation, this has been hard to test. We use an experiment manipulating voters’ perceptions of representation in order to identify their causal effect on populist sentiment on representative samples from 12 European countries (n = 24000). Respondents are first asked to state their preference on two EU policy issues. Next, they read a vignette about how major parties have sorted themselves on it during the European elections, which can indicate either that at least one party has taken the respondent’s position on that issue, or that no party has done so. We also vary whether parties have all taken the same position, or if they assumed different views from each other, and follow with questions on populist attitudes. These treatments affect representation in two ways: a) parties hold diverse positions, and b) at least one party advocates a position close to the respondent’s. Results are the first causal test of whether the cartelisation of European parties contributed to recent populist successes.

Authoritarian Populism: Theory and Evidence from China
Sarah Eaton, George August Universität Göttingen; Armin Mueller

In this paper, we examine the phenomenon of authoritarian populism, a relatively neglected topic within the recent profusion of ideational populist research. Building on work exploring the trigger conditions for populism at the individual level in electoral democracies (Hawkins, Read and Pauwels 2017), we argue that authoritarian systems may also give rise to popular, or bottom-up forms of populism. Working inductively from the case of China’s one-party state, we first outline our theory of latent authoritarian populism. We then test for the existence of populist attitudes in China using original, nationwide survey data collected in summer 2018. Employing a populist scale devised by “Team Populism” researchers for cross-national use, we uncover a strong current of populist opinion in China. Linking results from the populist scale to survey data on government satisfaction and political trust, we find that populists in China divide into two groups, “red” and “critical.” Red populists subscribe to those populist views that echo the Chinese Communist Party’s own populist tropes and display a high degree of loyalty to the state. A numerically larger group of critical populists are more suspicious of political elites and also significantly less satisfied with government.

Anti-establishment Identities and Populist Appeals. Evidence from Latin America
Carlos Melendez, Universidad Diego Portales

We propose a novel theory that considers that populism can emerge when an anti-establishment political identity exist. This identity denotes an emotional and rational rejection toward all established political parties in a given country. While anti-establishment identifiers are attracted by populist appeals, apartisans –those who lack any positive or negative partisanship- repel any form of politicization including populism. The distinction between anti-establishment identifiers and apartisans reflects two notable sets of attitudes concerning the political parties: repulsion toward the system in the first case, indifference in the second case. The former still expresses a kind of political linkage between the electorate and the party system; the latter conveys a situation of disaffection. These two types of sentiments toward the system are associated with the preference/aversion of populist projects. We have collected original public opinion data from Chile, Brazil, Honduras, and Mexico that supports our argument.

Do Populist Citizens Support Democracy?
Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Universidad Diego Portales; Steven Van Hauwaert

In the last few years, a growing number of scholars have been measuring the demand for populism; that is, there are an increasing number of studies that use surveys to assess the extent to which citizens share populist attitudes. Previous research has shown that populist ideas are not only widespread across the population, but also that they relate to support for democracy and democratic dissatisfaction. More specifically, a recent study argues that populist citizens could be seen as “dissatisfied democrats”: voters who are in favor of democracy as a regime, but who are disappointed with the way in which democracy is working. Although initial empirical evidence tends to support this argument, the question remains why exactly we notice this incongruence between normative and empirical opinions of democracy. After all, by looking at support for democracy and democratic dissatisfaction – the two classic indicators to examine so-called “dissatisfied democrats” – we remain puzzled about how voters interpret the concept of democracy. Given that populism is a set of ideas that not only portrays society as divided between “the corrupt elite” and “the pure people” but also defends popular sovereignty at any cost, it is not unreasonable to expect that populist citizens interpret and observe democracy differently than the traditional liberal democratic principles that define contemporary democracies. To empirically test this idea, we use new cross-national survey data for twelve European countries that permits us to empirically analyze the link between populist attitudes and different conceptions of democracy (e.g. direct democracy, electoral democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy, etc.). If it were true that citizens who sympathize with populism tend to prefer a model of democracy that diverges from liberal democracy, this suggests that the prerequisites for the proper functioning of liberal democracy are challenged in important segments of the electorate.

Thursday, August 29, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


(Presenter) Hahrie C. Han, University of California, Santa Barbara; (Presenter) Peter Levine, Tufts University

Session Description:
Presidential Task Force Panel: Civic Engagement

Saturday, August 31, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


(Presenter) Frances E. Lee, Princeton University; (Presenter) Eric Schickler, University of California, Berkeley; (Presenter) William A. Galston, The Brookings Institution

Session Description:
Presidential Task Force Panel: Congressional Reform Task Force.

Thursday, August 29, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

(Presenter) Cammy Shay, Houston Community College

Session Description:
Presidential Task Force Panel : Teaching and Learning

Friday, August 30, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 37: Public Opinion

(Discussant) Michael A. Bailey, Georgetown University; (Chair) Joshua N. Zingher, Old Dominion University

Session Description:
Public Opinion on Populism in Europe and the U.S.


Clarifying our Populist Moment: Operational Populism in the American Electorate
Edward G. Carmines, Indiana University, Bloomington; Eric Schmidt, Indiana University, Bloomington; Matthew Fowler, University of Chicago

Observing the rise of President Trump, many scholars have suggested that the United States is experiencing a populist moment. Yet there is widespread disagreement about what populism entails in our present American context. If contemporary populism is an abstract rejection of representative democracy in favor of popular control, then Trump’s rise may portend dark times for democracy. However, if the electorate is simply energized by issue concerns common to other populist movements (e.g. immigration, economic nationalism), this is a much different story — disconcerting, to be sure, but hardly fatal to our democratic edifice. Re-purposing terminology coined by Ellis and Stimson (2012), we hypothesize that mass populism in the United States is far more operational than symbolic. That is, to the extent people vote according to populist impulses, these are operational issue concerns shared with other populist movements rather than a symbolic commitment to populist ideology. Using an original survey index developed for the 2017 CCES (and expanded for the 2018 CCES), we test this hypothesis. Moreover, by including operational concerns relevant to either the Left or Right, we isolate the effects on vote choice of two ideologically distinct, issue-based forms of mass populism.

Cueing to the Extreme: Populist Voter Attitudes in Europe and the United States
Anna Brigevich

The rise of populism in Europe and the US has attracted scholarly attention to populist leaders and their political parties. At its core, populism implies the rejection of career politicians and mainstream policies that cater to the privileged class, along with an insistence that everyday individuals are more qualified to make political decisions that impact society. While populism is largely a catch-all term, it is most frequently associated with radical-right parties. Left-wing populism is largely underexplored, although the electoral success of SYRIZA in Greece and the popularity of Bernie Sanders in the US highlight that populism can take on a distinctly left-wing character. As Halikiopoulou et al. (2012) show, both radical right and left parties invoke national identity in their platforms, thereby creating a common ground between the two ostensibly disparate movements. At the same time, the study of populism/radicalism has focused on political elites, while the attitudes of populist voters have gone mainly uncharted. This paper contributes to the discussion of Western populism in several ways. First, it examines the platforms of both radical right and left parties in Europe and the US by focusing on their commonalities. It does so by examining data from the Comparative Manifestos Project. Second, it evaluates the extent to which the attitudes of radical voters actually align with the platforms of radical parties. Using the World Values Survey, it assesses how radical voters perceive the role of the government and strong leadership, as well as their trust in mainstream institutions. Furthermore, it evaluates the “who is cueing who?” phenomenon by tracing the degree to which voters are responsive to changes in party platforms and vice-versa. One of the key questions under investigation is whether parties have shifted to more to the extremes of the political left-right spectrum, thereby “pulling along” the average voter. Alternatively, voters may have become more radical as a result of forces such as globalization and heightened income inequality. Therefore, what we may be witnessing is shift in the voters, who “pull along” the parties, which aim at maximizing their vote share. I contend that the directionality of cueing differs between Europe and the US. In the US, the Republican Party, specifically the Tea Party fringe, have radicalized the American electorate. In Europe, the voters have taken on more radical attitudes given the failure of centrist parties to deliver meaningful economic gains to the lower and middle classes.

The Consequences of Populism: When do Populists let go of democratic principles?
Dietlind Stolle, McGill; Elisabeth L. Gidengil

Scholars and pundits alike are increasingly concerned about the re-emergence of radical right-wing populism in the United States and across Europe. The 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Brexit vote in the UK, the rise of radical right populist parties in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and even Germany, all testify to the importance of this phenomenon. This paper focuses on the implications of the rise of radical right populism for representative democracy: to what extent (if any) are populists willing to countenance the erosion of democratic rights and processes? The core hypothesis is that the effects of populism on democratic attitudes are conditional on the strength of perceived cultural and economic threats: the stronger the threats, the more willing populists will be to sacrifice democratic principles. To test this argument, our paper draws on data from a YouGov survey that includes validated survey measures of populist attitudes and embedded experiments as well as measures of willingness to countenance democratic backsliding.

They are all the same: Populism and perception of mainstream parties
Zoltan Fazekas, Copenhagen Business School; Frederico Vegetti, University of Mannheim, MZES

Research on populism often relies on the assumption that populist voters view the society as divided into two homogeneous and juxtaposed groups: the “good” people and the “evil” elites. This view is tantamount to a case of group categorization where political elites are the out-group and the people, as well as populist parties, are the in-group. However, although crucial, whether and to what extent this categorical thinking is reflected in the way citizens perceive political parties has not been tested. Are populist voters more likely to perceive mainstream parties as more ideologically similar to one another than they actually are? Building on literature on social categorization, we argue that populist voters perceive mainstream parties as more homogeneous than people who support traditional mainstream parties. We test this proposition using cross-sectional survey data from European democracies. We isolate partisan perceptual bias from populist supporter specific categorization and use expert assessments as additional baseline. Second, we zoom in using a multi-wave Italian representative panel to evaluate whether perceptual homogeneity is a consequence of populist support, or rather, populist party success is partly due to already existing perceptual homogeneity among the electorate.

Thursday, August 29, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

(Presenter) Robert Mickey, University of Michigan; (Chair) Christopher S. Parker, University of Washington; (Presenter) Chloe Thurston, Northwestern University; (Presenter) Vesla Mae Weaver, Johns Hopkins University; (Presenter) Alfredo Gonzalez

Session Description:
The mainstream of the US politics subfield is belatedly acknowledging the centrality of racial conflict to American politics. This roundtable brings together a range of scholars with different substantive concerns and who draw on different methods, but all of whom focus in some way on racial and ethnic politics in the United States. Panelists will discuss the future of America’s racial and ethnic politics in contemporary, historical, and cross-national perspective.

Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


(Chair) Tarik Abou-Chadi, University of Zurich; (Discussant) Max Schaub, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)

Session Description:
The panel brings together four papers examining right­-wing populism in Western Europe. We assess the causes of right­-wing voting (notably, downward class mobility and terrorist attacks), the stability of radical right partisanship as well as voters’ motivation to join protest of the far right. In so doing, we draw on evidence from social media, panel surveys as well as behavioral data from radical right protests.


Terrorism as a Stage for Far­-Right Mobilization
Tamar Mitts, Columbia University

Research on the electoral success of far-right parties has traditionally focused on demand-side explanations such as voters’ economic and cultural grievances or supply-side accounts highlighting political opportunities. So far, however, there has been little research on contexts that facilitate the interaction of the two. I argue that terrorist attacks move both demand and supply in favor of right-wing populism, making aspects of this ideology resonate with the media and other drivers of the social conversation while simultaneously increasing public sympathy for these ideas. I test the impact of terrorism on far-right politicians’ mobilization efforts on social media, as well as public responses to such events, using high-frequency Twitter data collected around over thirty terrorist attacks between 2010–2016 in Europe and the United States. I find that (a) far-right politicians’ rhetoric becomes significantly more xenophobic and anti-Muslim in the aftermath of terrorism, and (b) such messages become more popular among targeted populations even up to a month after the attacks. While these results present short-term dynamics, they nonetheless highlight the importance of incorporating the security dimension into the study of far-right politics.

The Illusion of Radical Right Partisan Stability
Rafaela Dancygier, Princeton University; Winston Chou, Princeton University; Naoki Egami, Princeton University; Amaney Jamal, Princeton University

How stable is support for radical right parties? In one view, radical right voters are antisystem voters, beyond capture by established parties. In another, they form frustrated issue publics, gravitating towards parties that represent their preferences. We evaluate these hypotheses in Germany, where the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is presently the largest opposition party. Using an original panel survey, we show that AfD voters resemble stable partisans with entrenched anti-establishment views. Yet, this consistency does not simply reflect antisystem voting, but is also rooted in unchanging party-issue positioning: our experimental evidence reveals that many AfD voters change allegiances when established parties accommodate their preferences. Gridlocked party positioning thus gives rise to the “illusion” of radical right partisan stability. We further demonstrate that, while mainstream parties can attract radical right voters via restrictive immigration policies, they alienate their own voters in doing so – suggesting the status quo is an equilibrium.

Downward Class Mobility and Reactionary Populism
Alan M. Jacobs, University of British Columbia; Mark A. Kayser, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

Recent populist party success in developed democracies has been dominated by the right.  Much scholarship has either ignored this partisan asymmetry or — observing that the attraction of right-wing populism often extends to relatively well-to-do voters — explained it with racial, cultural or identity politics rather than with economic stress. We argue here that cultural explanations are at best incomplete. The rise in reactionary populism has not been caused by a surge in group identity but rather from a decline in economic security relative to expectations.  Rather than measuring economic welfare as an absolute level (e.g., as income or social class), we focus on downward changes relative to baseline expectations. We posit that expectations are formed in two ways. First, children’s economic expectations are formed by the conditions in which they are raised. Second, individuals take their own prior economic circumstances as a baseline against which current economic circumstances are judged. When individuals cannot reach the same standard of living in adulthood as their parents, they experience disappointed economic expectations. Likewise when individuals suffer economic loss relative to their own prior circumstances. Economic disappointment, in turn, leaves voters open to rightwing populist appeals, including those that blame external forces (immigration, globalization) for decline and those that idealize a more prosperous past — a period that was also less ethnically diverse and less gender-egalitarian. Social groups with historically low income and economic security, in contrast, are not susceptible to nostalgic appeals.  We test for these relationships with data from panel surveys (capturing individual-level change) in four developed democracies — the United States, Britain, Germany, and Sweden – and with European Social Survey data allowing us to capture intergenerational occupational change.

Are Protesters Motivated by Group Size? Evidence from Right­-Wing Protests
Anselm Rink Hager, University of Konstanz

Are protesters motivated by their own group’s and the opposing group’s size? We study this question in the context of right­-wing protests and counter-­protests in Berlin. Using Facebook ads, we distributed a survey to potential right­- and left­-leaning protest participants of which 40 percent ultimately took to the streets. The survey randomly provided respondents with different official estimates about their own and the opposing group’s size. We then analyze whether this exogenous shift in beliefs about group sizes affects respondents’ protest intentions and actual protest behavior. Our evidence shows striking differences between right­- and left­-leaning protesters. For left­-wing respondents, we show that protesters’ own effort and that of both their peers and their competitors are strategic complements. Put simply, the greater the group size, the greater the likelihood to protest. For right­-wing respondents, we also find that protesters’ own effort and that of their competitors are strategic complements. Importantly, however, right­-wing protesters’ effort and that of their peers are strategic substitutes. The evidence implies that right­-wing protesters are motivated by strong competition, but free­-ride when their own group is sufficiently large. Left-­leaning protesters, by contrast, are motivated by large turnout—no matter whether it is their own group or that of the competitor.

Saturday, August 31, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 44: Comparative Democratization

(Chair) Jeffrey Kopstein, University of California, Irvine; (Discussant) Stephen E. Hanson, College of William and Mary

Session Description:
The proliferation of right-wing populist parties throughout Europe, Russia, and the U.S. in the 2010s has been accompanied by the appearance of an ever-expanding number of New Right thinkers.  Polemicists, publishers, and occasional politicians–such as Götz Kubitschek (Germany), Steve Bannon (USA), Mikhail Remizov, Boris Mezhuev, and Vladeslav Surkov (Russia), Roger Köppel (Switzerland), Thierry Baudet (the Netherlands), and the re-enlivened Alain de Benoist (France)—argue that they do not reject democratic institutions and ideas. They insist that their intent is to take political power out of the hands of corrupt elites, entrenched bureaucrats, and crony capitalists and return their countries to their true foundations.

In the 1990s, it might have been easy to dismiss these thinkers as nothing more than isolated agitators and cranky extremists. But, there are two good reasons for taking them seriously today. First, they are closely associated with leading populist politicians who seek their help in legitimizing their policies; in turn, the latter legitimize these thinkers by including them in the political process. Second, unlike populist elites, who rely on malleable, or “thin,” ideologies that can be adapted to changing conditions, these New Right thinkers aspire to create coherent, or “thick,” ideologies that simultaneously transcend the pursuit of electoral goals and, in some cases, offer solutions that are not even populist at all. In fact, their arguments may already give us a glimpse into the kind of ideological thinking that could supplant conventional understandings of liberal democracy in the decades to come.

The participants in this panel will seek to take New Right thinkers seriously by comparing and contrasting their views on multiple themes related to the contemporary crisis of democracy.  These themes include conceptions of citizenship, representative government, national sovereignty, political tolerance, and free market capitalism.  By considering several different cases from Europe, Russia, and the U.S, the panelists will ask whether these figures share enough in common to speak about a New Right ideology. They will also ask whether New Right thinking is actually new, rather than being merely a rehashing of old themes associated with European, Russian, and American extremism.  Finally, the panelists will consider the conditions under which these examples of New Right thinking might become a lasting feature of European and American politics.

In general, the ideas and ideologies of New Right thinkers have not been widely studied by political scientists, especially from a comparative perspective.  For this reason, this panel is likely to be of interest to scholars among multiple fields in the discipline, including those who specialize in comparative democratization, authoritarianism, political theory, and contemporary European, Russian, and American politics.


Alain de Benoist, Beyond Left and Right?
Jean-Yves Camus, Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques

Alain de Benoist is a prolific French political thinker who is the leading figure of the school of thought known as the New Right, launched in 1968. De Benoist and his New Right are proponents of ethno-pluralism, ethno-differentialism, the right to difference and a pagan European identity with roots in the Indo-European peoples who migrated in the fifth millennium BC. His main topic of writing today is the criticism of globalization and the hegemony of capital, but there is a debate on the continuity with, or break-away from, his former association with the radical right. In this presentation, we shall try to assess his influence on intellectual thought and politics in France and abroad, as well as to explain the most recent topics he has explored, such as participatory democracy; deep ecology and the theory of deceleration, which are usually associated with the Left, as well as those ideas he still defends ( the inequality of men; the refusal of the multicultural society and Organicism) which are mostly associated with the Right.

Russia’s ‘Young Conservatives.’ Revamping Conservatism à la russe
Marlene Laruelle, George Washington University

This paper will be discussing the rise of a new generation of Russian conservative thinkers close to the Kremlin that has been called Young Conservatives (mladokonservatism), especially Boris Mezhuev and Mikhail Remizov. Contrary to the most famous ideologists of Russian nationalism and Eurasianism such as Alexander Dugin, this new generation has not been very visible abroad, yet it speaks foreign language and follows closely the transformations of European and US ideological landscapes. They offer a more moderate vision of a conservative ideology for Russia that combines both a come back to some national philosophical traditions and borrowing from the revived Western conservative thinking. They also advance narratives that are more easily “applied” for the Kremlin’s policies, and has been the core ideologists of the transformations of Moscow as a leader of a new conservative international.

The Plague of Bannonism
Ronald Beiner, University of Toronto, Mississauga

The paper seeks to sketch basic features of “Bannonism” as an ideological tendency. Donald Trump’s thinking is too erratic and scattershot to count as a real system of ideas; Steve Bannon’s version of populism seems significantly more focused, more self-conscious, and hence more open to theory-based critical analysis. That’s not at all to say that Bannon’s ideas achieve intellectual coherence or consistency. Close examination of the defining components of his worldview in fact suggest the opposite. Still, engagement with contemporary right-populism cannot, or should not, avoid Bannon and his attempts to stoke up a new ideology.

Götz Kubitschek’s Rebellion against the Values of 1968
A. James McAdams, University of Notre Dame

Götz Kubitschek is Germany’s most visible New Right thinker. As a self-described “conservative revolutionary,” Kubitschek argues that his country suffers from a distorted view of democracy propagated by the ruling “1968 generation.”  In contrast, he claims to offer a path to a revitalized form of German democracy that is based upon a supposedly more authentic conception of citizenship, true tolerance, and national pride. In this paper, I shall seek to show why Kubitschek’s views have helped parties like the Alliance for Germany gain a veneer of intellectual legitimacy.  Moreover, I will consider the possibility that Kubitschek’s ideas are sufficiently coherent that they will continue to influence German democracy even if the electoral appeal of Right-wing populism should decline.

Saturday, August 31, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


(Discussant) Richard Johnson, Lancaster University; (Chair) Desmond King, University of Oxford

Session Description:
This panel addresses the pressing issue of why the American State has steadily reduced its engagement with upholding and enforcing civil rights in such areas as voting and criminal justice since the 1990s, and largely abandoned its historical role as an agent of desegregation in housing, education, income disparities and labor markets. The papers study several dimensions of these theoretical and empirical questions. Theoretically, the panellists seek to identify mechanisms enhancing or constraining the use of federal authority to advance nationally set standards in civil rights and racial equality drawing on recent advances in APD analyses of the American State.  A variety of empirical case studies are investigated including how university desegregation was achieved in the 1960s, the rise of racialized deportation policy, and the persistence of racial inequality in household assets and access to finance.


‘The latter day General Grant’: Federal Power and the Desegregation of Ole Miss
Desmond King, University of Oxford; Robert C. Lieberman, Johns Hopkins University

In this essay, we define and survey Forceful Federalism as a way of describing and evaluating the multiple dimensions of the American state that bear on the enforcement of civil rights and the state’s capacity to enforce (or undermine) racial equality. In particular, we describe the four critical dimensions of American state power that make up Forceful Federalism —standard-setting, coercive, associative, and fiscal — and explore their extraordinary confluence in the mid-twentieth century. We then describe how these dimensions of the American state evolved and came together in the case of James Meredith and Ole Miss, both as an illustration of Forceful Federalism at work and as a theoretically grounded depiction of a critical turning point in the history of American state building.

The Development of Deportation as a Federal Public Policy
Paul Frymer, Princeton University

I examine the development of policies designed to deport populations from US territory. These policies are both ideological and tactical and I argue to understand the outcomes, we need to examine both pieces. In particular, the varying capacity of government institutions has led to unexpected and unintended outcomes, sometimes aiding the policy goals and sometimes resulting in surprising civil rights victories even in the midst venomous ideological campaigns.

Reagan’s New Federalism and the rise of neoconservative urban policy
Kimberley S. Johnson, New York University

The Civil Rights State that was created out of the modern civil rights movement had both symbolic as well as substantive elements. The latter was comprised of public policies that provided material opportunities for formally excluded racial groups to achieve greater social and economic empowerment. This paper argues that Reagan’s New Federalism brought to an end the substantive Civil Rights State, while keeping intact the symbolic elements of the Civil Rights state. The dichotomy between symbolism and substance can be seen the rise and then decline of “black mayors” [and urban regimes] who went from being seen as the policy solution of black empowerment to being portrayed as cause of [black] urban pathology and decline. By limiting the policy options of black mayors and casting these limited options as policy failure and ineffective governance, opponents of the Civil Rights State could argue that the only solution to these failures in governance was the imposition of neoconservative “color-blind” urban policy. This neoconservative urbanism would form one of the foundations of today’s neoliberal city

Politics, Policy, and Asset Inequality after the Minority Rights Revolution
Chloe Thurston, Northwestern University

In public-private policies, policy feedback can shape market providers’ conceptions of their self-interest through policies’ effects on the potential profits that providers can make from engaging in favored activities. This posed an obstacle for minority rights advocates of the 1960s and 1970s, who continued to face challenges ensuring fair access to mortgage credit and retirement security after the passage of new laws outlawing housing and employment discrimination. Drawing from archival evidence of government and activist activities in the fields of employer-sponsored retirement benefits and mortgage discrimination, this paper traces how earlier private social policies shaped private providers’ conceptions of profitable activity, and how these ideas about profit took on their own force, constraining the ability of legal developments in civil rights law to bring about greater equality of access to homeownership and employer-sponsored benefits on-the-ground. The paper contributes both to our understanding of policy feedback by exploring its relationship to economic ideas, as well as to debates surrounding the reasons for the persistence material inequality along racial and gender lines in the wake of the minority rights revolution.

Saturday, August 31, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


(Presenter) Sheri Berman, Barnard College, Columbia University; (Presenter) William A. Galston, The Brookings Institution; (Presenter) Yascha Mounk, Harvard University; (Presenter) Pippa Norris, Harvard University and University of Sydney; (Presenter) Javier Corrales, Amherst College; (Chair) Harris Mylonas, George Washington University

Session Description:
Often described as a threat to liberal democracy and also as a symptom of the failures of liberal pluralism, the rise of populist movements has spurred scholars to reconsider where liberal democracies have gone wrong and what ought to be done. In this particular panel we examine what this populist moment tells us about liberal democracy and what it means for its future. Some of the questions presenters will engage with include: Are liberal democracies ill-equipped to confront the problems of economic inequality that fuel populist movements? What are the distinct challenges of left and right populisms? Can liberal democracies confront the perceived populist threat without compromising their core values? Or does this populist moment urge us to rethink what those core values are and what the balance among them ought to be?

Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 11: Comparative Politics

(Chair) Janet M. Laible, Lehigh University; (Presenter) Mark I. Vail, Tulane University; (Presenter) Michelle P. Egan; (Presenter) Scott L. Greer, University of Michigan; (Presenter) Willem Maas, Glendon College, York University; (Presenter) Holly Jarman, University of Michigan; (Presenter) Federiga M. Bindi, Center for Transatlantic Relation at SAIS Johns Hopkins

Session Description:
Brexit raises critical questions about the politics and future of the European Union. How will the EU operate without one its key diplomatic and international military powers? What will happen to its priorities, internal balance of power, and legislation without the reliably liberal and Eurosceptic United Kingdom? What will be the effects of the Brexit negotiations themselves on the EU? In general, what happens when an “ever closer union” founded on a virtuous circle of economic, social and political integration is called into question?

This roundtable is focused on the EU broadly, not on the UK and its domestic politics. We examine the EU after Brexit, meaning both the effects of the Brexit process and what we can discern about the post-UK politics of the EU; we avoid scenarios and policy advice and instead focus on the larger patterns and trends that Brexit reveals or shapes; and we ground the work in comparative politics rather than bespoke theories of European integration. Contributions from the roundtable participants will examine questions in comparative political economy, the politics of citizenship, social policy, trade policy, and comparative foreign policy.  Participants have all contributed to a forthcoming volume edited by Scott L. Greer and Janet Laible.

Roundtable participants will be:

Mark Vail (Tulane University), on economic citizenship and the perils of neo-liberalism; Michelle Egan (American University), on Brexit and the Single Market of the European Union; Scott Greer (University of Michigan), on the impact of Brexit on the political economy of ‘social Europe’; Willem Maas (York University), on European citizenship and free movement after Brexit; Holly Jarman (University of Michigan), on EU trade policy after Brexit; and Federiga Bindi (University of Rome – Tor Vergata), on Brexit and EU foreign policy.

Friday, August 30, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

(Presenter) Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University; (Presenter) Bruno de Paula Castanho Silva, University of Cologne; (Presenter) David Doyle, University of Oxford; (Presenter) Nina Wiesehomeier, FUNDACIÓN IE G81711459; (Presenter) Ryan Carlin, Georgia State University; (Chair) Jennifer McCoy, Georgia State University

Session Description:
With the rise of populist forces across the globe, scholarship on populism has grown tremendously, with increasing conceptual precision, new techniques of measurement, and improved theorizing and causal analysis. However, much of this research has not reached the public or even policymakers and commentators. In the media, the term “populism” is little more than a pejorative or a synonym for demagoguery; strong claims are often made about how populist certain politicians and leaders are, with little or no data to back these claims; and policymakers and commentators continue to repeat arguments about populism’s causes and consequences that have been refuted by social scientists.

From August 2018 to February 2019, members of Team Populism collaborated with the international news organization The Guardian to produce a series of long-form, digital articles designed to bring populism research to The Guardian’s readers. The project, titled “The New Populism,” had the threefold goal of educating readers on scholarly definitions of populism and the relationship of populism to traditional ideologies; depicting global and European trends in the electoral spread of populism; and sharing the results of research on populism’s causes and its consequences for liberal democracy.

The project was an ideal collaboration. The Guardian’s online global audience (150 million monthly readers), its marketing apparatus, and its skills at data visualization and writing made it possible for a quantity of scholarly research to reach much larger audiences than even the most highly trafficked political science blogs. In recent years The Guardian has worked to provide its readers with more sophisticated analyses of local and global trends (such as populism), but its journalists lack the time and training to produce the original data and analytical tools that this requires. Team Populism is a cross-regional network of over 100 social scientists dedicated to studying populism’s causes and consequences. Formed in 2014, the network has already sponsored publications promoting a theoretical framework and new methodological tools and datasets, but it had not achieved its goals of disseminating this work to a non-academic audience.

As part of this collaboration, The Guardian worked with Team Populism to summarize key ideas from the literature, but also to produce new datasets and conduct interactive research with readers of The Guardian, much of it suitable for subsequent scholarly analysis and publication. This included updating Team Populism’s Populist Discourse Dataset for political chief executives, to where it now covers 250 leaders in over 40 countries from 2000 to the present; performing a new expert survey measuring populism among party leader across Europe; conducting an online experiment with almost 30,000 readers of The Guardian; and engaging more than a half-million people in an online survey of populist attitudes.

In this roundtable we showcase the results of this research and discuss lessons for future collaboration between global online media and political scientists. Scholars will be interested in the combined results of the research, some of which have not been presented in The Guardian; these include the trajectory of populism across much of the globe, results of the online survey and online experiment, and tests of populism’s causes and consequences. We also describe the availability of these datasets for other scholars. Finally, we discuss the advantages and challenges of collaborating with traditional global media outlets, including concerns about scholarly integrity and data transparency.

Thursday, August 29, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 52: Migration and Citizenship

(Chair) Katherine J Cramer, University of Wisconsin, Madison; (Discussant) James G. Gimpel, University of Maryland, College Park

Session Description:
Many Western democracies have witnessed a considerable rise in anti-immigration attitudes and populist right voting in recent years. Within these countries, however, there are notable local and regional disparities among places where anti-immigration sentiments and voting are high. Accordingly, this panel examines the sources of within-country variation in support for populist right parties, restrictionist policies, and nativist attitudes in advanced industrial democracies. Specifically, it focuses on the connections between (im)migration, place and receptiveness towards populist right-wing, anti-immigration rhetoric. Leveraging political, social and demographic developments in the United States and Western Europe, the four papers in this panel identify key mechanisms that generate distinct geographic patterns of reactionary attitudes and “radical” political behaviour.

For example, utilizing panel data from Germany, Rahsaan Maxwell finds strong evidence of demographic compositional effects to explain the geographic clustering of pro-immigration attitudes and preferences in ethnically diverse big cities. Yalidy Matos, in turn, draws on analyses of Trump’s and Clinton’s campaign speeches and the American National Elections Studies’ (ANES) 2016 time-series data to illuminate the ways in which “groupness” and the psychological need to belong explain Trump’s popularity in rural and suburban America, and how his support extends far beyond the white working class. Yamil Velez, meanwhile, stresses how recent changes in the American residential landscape contribute to the heightened tensions between the native-born and immigrants, and underscores the central role that residential mobility constraints play in explaining nativist attitudes and hostility towards local ethnic change in the United States. Finally, with individual- and local-level evidence from Finland and France, Pauliina Patana shows that the populist right performs well in areas where access to economic opportunities and basic services are restricted and among residents who have limited geographical mobility and means of reacting to changes in their communities. Taken together, the papers deepen understanding of the considerable urban-rural divides in populist right voting and attitudes. Moreover, they also shed light on the notable disconnections between the objective salience of ethnic diversity and economic conditions and the localities in which they are most strongly contested.


The Psychology of Populist Voting: Race and Immigration in the 2016 U.S Election
Yalidy M. Matos, Rutgers University

In the 2016 presidential elections, the man who became the 45th president of the United States unequivocally won the white vote. Although one dominant narrative around the election was about poor, working-class whites, I will demonstrate that Donald Trump’s white support was not determined solely by demographics but by the ideology of whiteness. According to a research report by the Pew Research Center using validated voter files, Trump won whites making $30,000 or more, while Clinton won whites making less than $30,000 by one point. Trump won both white women and white men. Among the ages of 18-49, Trump won white men, while Clinton won white women. Among ages 50 and older, Trump won both white women and men. Clinton won white college graduates, while Trump won whites without college degrees. Finally, Trump won the suburban and rural votes (Cohn, 2018; Pew Research Center, 2018). What was it about Trump’s campaign message that propelled the majority of whites to vote for him? Did the fact that the Republican nominee based his campaign largely on immigration lead to his winning the white vote? I answer these questions by analyzing a subset of Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaign speeches from the American Presidency Project repository and pointing out how their rhetoric was fundamentally different. I also make use of the American National Election Studies (ANES) 2016 Time Series Study. In this article, I posit that understanding the psychology behind populist voting helps us understand how “groupness” operated in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Ultimately, I argue that the psychological need to belong and the ways in which Trump was more successful than Clinton at priming belonging among his supporters ultimately led to a Trump victory.

Why Are Ethnically-Diverse Big City Neighborhoods so Pro-Immigration?
Rahsaan Maxwell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ethnically-diverse big city neighborhoods are the most pro-immigration spaces in Europe and North America. However, while the distinctiveness of these ethnically-diverse big city neighborhoods is much discussed, there is still much to learn about what causes geographic clustering of preferences. I evaluate the two main possibilities – compositional effects and contextual effects – with panel data from Germany. I find strong evidence of demographic compositional effects as people with post-secondary degrees and professional occupations are positive about immigration wherever they live, but due to recent macro-economic trends are concentrated in big cities.  There is also evidence that cultural sorting is another type of compositional effect, as people with pro-immigration attitudes select into ethnically-diverse big city neighborhoods. In contrast, I find limited evidence that living in ethnically-diverse contexts affects attitudes.  These results have implications for our understanding of geographic divides, immigration attitudes and the prospects for national unity.

Residential Constraints, (Im)mobility and Support for the Populist Radical Right
Pauliina Patana, Cornell University

What explains variation in electoral support for populist radical right-wing (PRR) parties within Western democracies? More specifically, why are these parties increasingly stronger in rural and semi-urban localities relatively untouched by their electorates’ core concerns related to immigration, post-industrial economic decline and growing transnationalism? This paper sheds light on this paradox by investigating the conditions under which PRR parties perform well in some local settings but not in others. I develop and test a theory that argues that the way in which these demographic and economic factors trigger a PRR backlash is contingent upon residential constraints and (im)mobility. Drawing on longitudinal and subnational administrative data and original surveys from Finland and France, I show that PRR parties are particularly successful in areas where access to economic opportunities and basic services are restricted and among residents who have limited means of “voting with their feet” and reacting to the pressures and demands created by growing international economic and political integration in other ways. Paradoxically, in a globalized context that both demands and encourages high degrees of mobility, national governments have pursued policies that increase geographic inequality in economic opportunities and access to services, rendering prospering areas where they are abundant increasingly out of reach for many individuals. Indeed, while the provision of basic welfare services and employment offer are increasingly concentrated around larger urban areas, the high and growing costs of housing, a lack of affordable options, and other barriers to mobility constrain many individuals, forcing them to live at a certain distance from such areas and become “stuck” in places where these resources are increasingly scarce. This (im)mobility, in turn, deeply affects citizens’ (perceived) social membership and receptiveness towards PRR parties’ rhetoric about populations that are “left behind” or “ignored.”

Fight or Flight: Contested Communities in an Age of Immigration
Yamil Velez, George Washington University

As immigrant populations have expanded across the United States, many Americans have fled diversifying communities, whereas others have stayed and supported local policies targeting immigrants. In Fight or Flight, I develop a theory that explains the recent upswell of nativism in the United States. I argue that recent shifts in the American residential landscape have heightened tensions between immigrants and native-born residents, and find that expressions of nativism are most common among residents who encounter barriers to residential mobility.

Saturday, August 31, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Co-sponsored by Division 32: Race, Ethnicity and Politics

(Presenter) Michael G. Hanchard, University of Pennsylvania; (Presenter) George M. Shulman, New York University; (Presenter) Melvin Lee Rogers, Brown University; (Chair) Christopher S. Parker, University of Washington

Session Description:
In  Black Reconstruction, W.E.B.  Du Bois refers to democracy as a “problem as it expands and touches all races and nations.”   Dubois’ perspective on the relationship between race, labor and democracy, urges readers to consider the counterintuitive possibility that democracy may actually serve  as a barrier to equality for certain groups and populations,  rather than, as often understood, a solution to inequality in diverse societies. Written in the 1930’s, DuBois’ was principally concerned with the rise of racism and fascism in countries that had been formerly, nominally democratic: The Weimar Republic of Germany, France, Falangist Spain, as well as the United States.  The specialists organized for this roundtable have examined the nexus of race, difference and democracy in several locales in the contemporary world, and will consider how racial hierarchy and difference highlight the need for supplementary concepts and methodological approaches to better analyze the relationship between democracy and exclusion in plural societies.

Friday, August 30, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.


(Chair) Joshua A. Tucker, New York University; (Presenter) Bart Bonikowski, Harvard University; (Presenter) Abel Bojar, European University Institute; (Presenter) Tsveta Petrova, Columbia University; (Presenter) Bonnie M. Meguid, University of Rochester; (Presenter) Maria Snegovaya, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland

Session Description:
We propose to hold a roundtable on the electoral success of contemporary Central European populism. In Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain, France, and even Germany right populist parties have become increasingly competitive in key elections, while the governments of Law and Justice in Poland and Fidesz in Hungary demonstrate the resilience of such parties in power. Understanding their rise is an important political-science and policy question.

What many populists share is an anti-establishment, monist and moralist ideology that is often combined with other ideologies, such as nativism on the right and socialism on the left. And while many illiberal, extreme (left or right), or just besieged governments might copy some elements of the populist playbook around opposition suppression and redistribution, it’s the absence of a monist and moralist ideology that sets them apart from populists.

What accounts for the electoral successes of populists? The proposed roundtable seeks to contribute to and help advance the relevant academic and policy debates in four main ways:

  • First, conceptually, using the definition above, we will debate the success of populism in a more disciplined manner than much previous work, which usually lumps together populists and extreme left or right parties and movements.
  • Second, theoretically, we seek to explore simultaneously both the supply and the demand side of this electoral equation, asking 1) under what conditions do populist parties a) crop up and b) assume power as well as 2) why do some citizens a) vote populists into power and then b) often re-elect them.
  • Supply side: We will build on the work of students of populism who have tended to explain the electoral success of populists and/or extreme parties with reference to: 1) at the macro-level, the macro-economic environment (economic/financial crises, inequality, economy profile, corruption); 2) at the meso-level, weaknesses of the political party or civic association systems (polarization, fragmentation, and representational gaps); and 3) at the micro-level, the prevalence of traditionalist beliefs and intolerance of difference/minorities.
  • Demand side: We will also borrow insights from the three broad groups of previous accounts of why voters cast their ballots for populists and/or extreme parties: 1) at the micro-level, focusing on the so-called authoritarian personality; 2) at the meso-level, emphasizing the socio-economic profile (education, income, gender, and age) of certain groups of voters; and 3) at the macro-level, focusing on cultural (ideology and religiosity) changes.
  • Third, methodologically, we seek to answer the supply- and demand-side questions posed above from a multi-disciplinary and multi-method framework. The participating authors plan to leverage not only public opinion polls and qualitative case studies but also discourse analysis, observational and experimental surveys to better examine the phenomenon of contemporary Central European populism.
  • Fourth, empirically, the proposed roundtable will revisit the alternative—though not mutually exclusive—supply- and demand-side explanations with empirical attention to Central Europe. We will thus examine empirical cases that are relatively understudied under this topic: the Central European members of the EU in which populists have not only grown stronger in the fringes but also breached into the mainstream and seized power; our main focus is on Hungary and Poland but we will also touch on Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Friday, August 30, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


(Chair) Kimberley S. Johnson, New York University; (Presenter) Pei-te Lien, University of California Santa Barbara; (Presenter) Joseph E. Lowndes, University of Oregon; (Presenter) Corrine M. McConnaughy, George Washington University; (Presenter) Lester Kenyatta Spence, Johns Hopkins University; (Presenter) Dara Z. Strolovitch, Princeton University

Session Description:
Today’s populist movements are both a global and American phenomena. While broadly understand as a movement of “the people” against a self-interested and non-responsive elite, populist movements in their specifics can widely vary. Many populist movements are built upon class, racial, ethnic, religious, gender/sexual identities and cleavages; with some groups being incorporated into “the people,” or alternatively defined as the “other.” In the U.S. case, populism has veered Left between the radical, though brief, inclusion of People’s Party of the late 1890s and alto to the Right such as to the white supremacy of the 1920s KKK. Today’s populist movements such as the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matters movement, the Women’s March, and the so-called “alt-right” – reflect both historical continuity but also important differences in American populism. This panel considers different types of populist movements and the response of those groups most often seen as “the other.” The panel considers how “the other” has responded to populist movements in the U.S. particularly those based on racial or gender/sexuality hierarchy. To that end, the panel explores how alternative populist movements – both historically and today – have been crafted by those considered to be ”the other.”

Thursday, August 29, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


(Chair) Carla Norrlof, University of Toronto; (Discussant) Nita Rudra, Georgetown University

Session Description:
With the liberal international order under fire, this panel brings together a number of scholars from diverse backgrounds to present new work on how populism and privilege is shaping contemporary international relations. There is an ongoing debate about what role economics and identity play in shaping domestic support for the liberal international order.  These accounts agree that extreme right populism pose a grave threat to the liberal international order, whether reflecting a crisis of identity or underlying economic concerns. Much less attention has been paid to leftist positions despite their more enduring opposition to the liberal international order in one vital area—free trade—as discussed in Iain Osgood and Hyeon-Young Ro’s paper on “Trade’s Progressive Opposition”.  But some scholars are skeptical that a class divide explains domestic preferences for, or against, the liberal international order. In “Cosmopolitans and Parochials:  Cconomy, Culture, and Political Conflict” Miles Kahler explores how the locational effects of globalization and the local cultures produced in areas that were disproportionately affected by globalization result in more parochial (than cosmopolitan) preferences.  To the extent that identity explains domestic preferences for political and economic closure, the literature on the liberal international order has very little, if anything to say about how religious and racial discrimination undermines the order, the topic of Norrlof and Xu’s paper, “Non-discrimination and the Future of the LIO”. For Kristin Hopewell (From Hegemony to Domination:  Trump and the Future of the Liberal Trading Order”), the domestic identity crisis unfolding in advanced countries mirrors the international identity crisis experienced by countries who have grown accustomed to a privileged position in the international system, particularly the US, who is pushing back against China’s growing influence in international affairs by pursuing policies that undercut liberal international order.


Trade’s Progressive Opposition
Iain Osgood, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

While right-wing opposition to globalization has recently come to the fore, we describe the more enduring opposition to trade of US progressive groups. To do so, we collect original data on thousands of progressive groups’ opposition to US trade agreements over the past 25 years. We describe patterns in the interests of these groups across a new fifteen category schema spanning environmental activism, labor rights, religious organizations, and beyond. We also examine variation in lobbying, organization, and issues of interest across agreements. Overall, we find that progressive groups have been quite active on trade agreements with some important contributions to the dialogue surrounding globalization, although their overall influence on trade policy outcomes remains modest.

Cosmopolitans and Parochials:  Economy, Culture, and Political Conflict
Miles Kahler, American University

Recent political conflict surrounding the orientation of individuals and political movements toward other peoples, other countries, and the global order provides an opportunity to investigate the sources of parochialism, a defensive ethnonationalism characteristic of populist, right-wing political movements and their followers, and cosmopolitanism, a stance supporting economic and cultural openness and international cooperation. Both political economy and culture have been marshalled as explanations for these opposing and politically potent stances that exert influence on politics and foreign policy. However, simple models based on international economic position (Open Economy Politics) fail to explain parochial attitudes or political support for Brexit or the candidacy of Donald Trump.  One particular salient issue that divides parochials and cosmopolitans is directly linked to culture and identity: immigration. The correlates of cosmopolitanism connect those attitudes to a particular cultural infrastructure—a media-rich information environment, educational experience and institutions, and opportunities for transnational experience.  In explaining both parochial and cosmopolitan attitudes, the disparate effects of globalization on local culture and politics are of central importance.  The link from economy to political behavior and outcomes runs through the locational effects of globalization and the local cultures produced in those settings: globalized urban environments on the one hand or disadvantaged hinterlands that perceive themselves as left behind, on the other.

Non-discrimination and the Future of the LIO
Carla Norrlof, University of Toronto; Cheng Xu, University of Toronto

A wave of populism is sweeping over the world threatening the foundations of the liberal international order, which is based on principles of economic and political freedom. Economic freedom involves property rights protection and free exchange, including open cross-border exchange of goods, services and capital. Political freedom entails freedom from government oppression, coercion and discrimination. However, the intellectual focus of international relations scholars, and the practical focus of governments, has been to secure property rights and promote open economic relations, democracy and human rights. Much less academic and policy attention has been paid to guaranteeing freedom from ethnic and religious discrimination, especially in developed countries. This inattention has created a permissive environment for discriminatory beliefs and practices to persist, thereby providing fertile ground for illiberal leaders to emerge. When left to fester, these societal dynamics pose a significant threat to the liberal international order in two ways. First, they undermine liberal norms of equality. Second, they allow extreme-wing populists to surf into office and undermine democracy. Both developments pose a threat to the LIO. We provide a theoretical argument for why the future of the LIO depends on strengthening respect for non-discrimination, provide empirical support for our claim and outline ways to reinforce society’s commitment to non-discrimination.

From Hegemony to Domination:  Trump and the Future of the Liberal Trading Order
Kristen Hopewell

For over 70 years, the US has led the governing institutions and rules of the liberal international economic order, which have reflected and reinforced its primacy and served as an important channel for the projection of American power.  Now, however, propelled by a surge of populist anti-trade sentiment, President Trump is abandoning the US’s traditional support for, and leadership of, the liberal trading order, and instead resorting to threats of aggressive unilateral trade actions or withdrawal from trade agreements to extract concessions from other states.  Analysis of Trump’s retreat from free trade, international institutions and multilateralism has focused on domestic drivers, such as the rise of populism, but here I focus on international factors – specifically shifting power in global economic governance and the rise of China.  I argue that the US’s resort to domination, or the raw use of coercive power, under President Trump is a response to the decline of US hegemony, in the Gramscian sense of the ability to rule through consent rather than simply coercion.  Although the US maintains a preponderance of power in the international system, its capacity to direct and steer global trade governance has been sharply curtailed by the rise of China.  China has consistently and persistently thwarted the US from achieving its objectives across a wide range of different areas of trade governance, at the WTO and beyond.  The US’s ability to dominate the governing institutions of the trading system and to write the rules of global trade has thus been severely weakened.

Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


(Chair) Kurt Weyland, University of Texas, Austin; (Presenter) Frances E. Lee, Princeton University; (Presenter) Raul L. Madrid, University of Texas, Austin; (Presenter) Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University; (Presenter) Kenneth M. Roberts, Cornell University; (Presenter) Kurt Weyland, University of Texas, Austin

Session Description:
What impact will President Trump’s populism have on liberal democracy in the U.S.? The 2016 election prompted considerable concern about the risk of damage to the quality, if not the survival of pluralist democracy. After all, ample experiences with populism in other regions, such as Latin America and Eastern Europe, show that this type of unbounded personalistic leadership has inherent tendencies toward illiberalism and authoritarianism. But the U.S. political system seems to have strong safeguards against these kinds of tendencies, such as institutional checks and balances, a fairly consolidated party system, and a vibrant civil society. What will prove stronger – the populist impetus or the defensive capacity of liberal democracy? By bringing together leading specialists on American and Comparative Politics, the proposed roundtable seeks to shed light on this crucial question, and at the same time foment academic dialog across these two subfields.