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date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses relations between populism, identity, and identification, defining populism as a mode of political identification that constructs and gives meaning to “the people” as a political actor. It critically adopts a discursive approach to populism represented, among others, by the works of Ernesto Laclau, as well as the socio-cultural approach of Pierre Ostiguy, in order to show how populist identities are created and how populist interventions shape politics differently in different political contexts. It argues that political identities are complex, relational, and incomplete, challenging binary classifications of political actors as either populists or not, and introducing the notion of populist interventions as a political appeal to be used alongside other political appeals. The notion of incomplete and permanently dislocated institutions is then used to show how populist interventions can be employed in highly institutionalized political settings to change the boundaries of what is sayable and hence doable in a given political order.

Keywords: populism, identity, identification, the people, populist interventions

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