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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article criticizes economic, discursive, and ideological definitions of populism and advocates and further develops a political-strategic conceptualization. The resulting definition emphasizes personalistic leadership that rests on direct, unmediated, uninstitutionalized support from large masses of mostly unorganized followers. This definition captures the flexibility and opportunism of populism and accounts for the striking volatility of populists’ political fate. The article offers a clear distinction between populism and fascism and introduces a gradated conceptualization of populism to depict leaders’ varying combinations of political strategies more precisely.

Keywords: discourse, fascism, ideology, leadership, institution, organization, populism, strategy

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