Left Radicalism and Populism in Europe: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Left Radicalism and Populism in Europe

1st Edition

Edited by Giorgos Charalambous, Gregoris Ioannou


288 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-08-07
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While there has been much focus in recent times on the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, there has been surprisingly little material on the phenomenon of left-wing populism. This edited collection seeks to fill that gap with an investigation of the relationship between the radical left and populism. Featuring a broad range of historical and contemporary case studies from across Europe, this is a much-needed empirical account of this phenomenon.

This book will be of considerable interest to researchers, scholars and students of left radicalism, European politics and the politics of social movements. It will also appeal to appeal to non-academic audiences, especially party and social movement activists because of its politically salient topic and its historical and comparative focus.


Populism is the latest political buzzword but is desperately in need of systematic evidence-based analysis and conceptual clarification. This book combines theoretical expertise with empirical case studies on European left radicalism and populism to provide a valuable resource for all those who want to join in 'the great populist debate'. – Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Excellence 100 Reader in Social Politics and Media, Loughborough University, UK.

Moving beyond obsolete euro-centric stereotypes, political science is gradually acknowledging the existence of left-wing populist movements and parties. The rigorous research of the complex relationship between left radicalism and populism will be greatly boosted by this volume. Charalambous and Ioannou have added an important milestone in both the synchronic and the diachronic study of this challenging topic. – Professor Yannis Stavrakakis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

This is a really important collection of essays on one of the most pressing issues that confronts students of politics today: what is populism, and should we see it as a threat to democracy, or perhaps an aid to its renewal? Its importance lies in shining a light on what can otherwise be obscured or passed over in more mainstream accounts: the rise of left-wing populisms, alongside the more familiar right wing and nativist variants which tend to attract most of the scholarly and media attention. The authors provide an important corrective to mainstream accounts whilst at the same time providing an interesting and nuanced defence of populism as a potential political strategy. This is a timely intervention in debates on how we should think about and engage with populism, and essential reading for all of those interested in contemporary politics. – Simon Tormey, Professor of Government and IR, University of Sydney, Australia.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introducing the Topic and the Concepts Giorgos Charalambous and Gregoris Ioannou, Part I - Left radicalism and populism across history, Chapter 2 The Russian Narodniks and their relationship to Russian Marxism Richard Mullin, Chapter 3 Social democracy and the temptation of populism between the world wars: France in a comparative perspective Fabien Escalona Chapter 4 Historicizing the populist temptation: the case of Eurocommunism Ioannis Balampanidis, Part II - Contemporary radical left parties and populism, Chapter 5 Corbyn, Sanders and the contestation of neoliberal hegemony Owen Worth, Chapter 6 ‘Make way for the people!’ Left-wing populism in the rhetoric of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s 2012 and 2017 presidential campaigns Paolo Chiocchetti, Chapter 7 New left populism contesting and taking power: the cases of Syriza and Podemos Alexandros Kioupkiolis and Giorgos Katsambekis, Chapter 8 Hijacking the left? The populist and radical right in two post-Communist polities Vassilis Petsinis, PART III – Social movements, populism and socialist strategy, Chapter 9 Mapping anti-austerity discourse: populism, sloganeering, and/or realism? David J. Bailey, Chapter 10 West European trade unions, labour and ‘the people’: from the golden era to the times of austerity Gregoris Ioannou and Giorgos Charalambous, Chapter 11 Populism as Deceptive Invocations of the Popular: A Political Approach Seraphim Seferiades, Chapter 12 Conclusions: Populism and left radicalism in Europe across time and space Giorgos Charalambous and Gregoris Ioannou

About the Editors

Giorgos Charalambous is a member of faculty at the Department of Politics and Governance, University of Nicosia, Cyprus.

Gregoris Ioannou is a Sociologist and a Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, UK

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Radical History and Politics

The series Routledge Studies in Radical History and Politics has two areas of interest. Firstly, this series aims to publish books which focus on the history of movements of the radical left. ‘Movement of the radical left’ is here interpreted in its broadest sense as encompassing those past movements for radical change which operated in the mainstream political arena as with political parties, and past movements for change which operated more outside the mainstream as with millenarian movements, anarchist groups, utopian socialist communities, and trade unions. Secondly, this series aims to publish books which focus on more contemporary expressions of radical left-wing politics. Recent years have been witness to the emergence of a multitude of new radical movements adept at getting their voices in the public sphere. From those participating in the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, community unionism, social media forums, independent media outlets, local voluntary organisations campaigning for progressive change, and so on, it seems to be the case that innovative networks of radicalism are being constructed in civil society that operate in different public forms.  

The series very much welcomes titles with a British focus, but is not limited to any particular national context or region. The series will encourage scholars who contribute to this series to draw on perspectives and insights from other disciplines.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Radicalism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Advocacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European