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date: 24 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that liberal democracy and populism, despite both being committed to the idea of popular sovereignty, rely on incompatible conceptualizations of the demos and, consequently, embody antagonistic and irreconcilable understandings of the concept of democracy. It subsequently challenges the wide-spread assumption that populism might have beneficial effects. Although populism operates as a symptom, signaling an underlying malfunctioning of our liberal democratic system, it can never itself function as the remedial corrective. Instead, it should be considered an important threat to democracy, which ought to be countered by actions aiming to remedy both the symptom and the underlying problem.

Keywords: populism, liberal democracy, demos, antagonism, symptom, corrective, threat

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