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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Populism and cosmopolitanism are commonly regarded as antitheses, reducing populism to communalism and cosmopolitanism to elitism. This chapter develops a more nuanced view by turning to the early histories of both phenomena. In Diogenes the Cynic, cosmopolitanism’s ancient inventor, it finds evidence less for elitism than for resistance to politics as such. In the populares, populists of the Roman Republic, it finds the origins of a long history of inclusive popular politics. Drawing on a recent debate between Ernesto Laclau and Jacques Rancière, the chapter argues that populism and cosmopolitanism are essentially ambivalent. Insofar as populism can be inclusive or exclusive and cosmopolitanism elitist or popular, the two can overlap, and each can usefully be regarded as a check on the other.

Keywords: populism, cosmopolitanism, democracy, Diogenes the Cynic, Ernesto Laclau, Jacques Rancière

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