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date: 27 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies populism’s relationship to another phenomenon central to contemporary political life, technocracy. Populism and technocracy are generally understood as opposite trends, one a reaction against the other. The chapter contests this view, arguing that populism and technocracy have a complementary relationship insofar as they share an opposition to two key features of party democracy: political mediation and procedural legitimacy. Having identified shared hostility to party democracy as a point of complementarity between populism and technocracy, the chapter turns to explanations for the rise of populism and technocracy. The chapter finds these explanations in long-term structural transformations in modern party democracy, namely the cartelization of the party political system. The conclusion takes up the policy implications of this analysis. Far from being useful correctives to one another, populism and technocracy should be tackled together as parallel expressions of the same underlying crisis of party democracy.

Keywords: populism, technocracy, party democracy, mediation, procedural legitimacy, political parties, opposites, complements, cartelization

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