Populism and Passions: Democratic Legitimacy after Austerity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Populism and Passions

Democratic Legitimacy after Austerity, 1st Edition

Edited by Paolo Cossarini, Fernando Vallespín


186 pages

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There is a consensus that right, and left-wing populism is on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic, from Donald Trump in the United States, to Spain’s leftist Podemos. These may utilize different kinds of populist mobilizations but the fact remains that elite and mass opinion is fuelling a populist backlash.

In Populism and Passions, twelve scholars engage with discourse analysis, democratic theory, and post structural political thought to study the political logic of passion for contemporary populism. Together these interdisciplinary essays demonstrate what emotional engagement implies for the spheres of politics and the social, and how it governs and mobilizes individuals. The volume presents:

  • Theoretical and empirical implications for political analysis;
  • Chapters on the current rise of populism, both right and left-wing trends, their different ideological features, and their relationship with the logic of passion;
  • Theoretical implications for the future study of populism and democratic legitimacy.

A timely analysis of this political phenomena in contemporary Western democracies, Populism and Passions is ideal for students and scholars in political theory, comparative politics, social theory, critical theory, cultural studies, and global studies.


"Despite the burgeoning growth of populism studies, there are still areas in the field which remain underdeveloped. This volume, through the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between populism and passions, fills a crucial gap in one of those areas. It does so in an insightful, theoretically robust and empirically-informed way, bringing together younger researchers and established scholars. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the populist phenomenon and on the role that passions play in contemporary democratic politics."Giorgos Katsambekis, Loughborough University

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Images

List of Contributors

Introduction: Populism, Democracy, and the Logic of Passion

Paolo Cossarini and Fernando Vallespín

Part 1: Ordering the Political Realm

1. Political Affects in the Neuroscientific Age

Manuel Arias Maldonado

2. Populisms and Emotions

Nicolas Demertzis

3.Populism versus Technocracy: Performance, Passions, and Aesthetics

Benjamin Moffitt

Part 2: Passionate Logic and Discourses in Times of Austerity

4. Our Damned Weakness: Tensions between Reason and Emotion in Podemos

Emmy Eklundh

5. The Political Logic of Populist Hype: The Case of Right-wing Populism’s ‘Meteoric Rise’ and its Relation to the Status Quo

Jason Glynos and Aurelien Mondon

6. Populism and the Use of Tropes

Paulina Tambakaki

7. Emotions and the Left in Denmark. Towards Left-Wing and Mainstream Populism

Óscar García Agustín

Part 3: Passions and Democratic Legitimacy

8. Filling the Vacuum? Passion, ‘the People’, and Affective Communities

Paolo Cossarini

9. Passion, Excess, and Fear of the Mob - Populism as Ideology

Simon Tormey

10. Populism and the Restructuring of the Public Sphere

Fernando Vallespín and Máriam Martínez-Bascuñán


About the Editors

Paolo Cossarini is Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of International Studies at the University of Trento, Italy. He previously taught Politics and International Relations at Loughborough University, UK. He has held visiting positions at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Queen Mary University of London, and has been a member of the research project ‘The political consequences of the economic crisis’ funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education. His research focuses on democratic theory and populism, Spanish politics and nationalism, and the role of emotions in protest movements and political communication, as well as border and migration studies. He has published in Global Discourse, European Political Science, and Revista de Estudios Políticos, among other journals

Fernando Vallespín is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. He has directed the Department of Political Science and International Relations and the Centro de Teoría Política at the same University. He has also been a postdoctoral Fulbright researcher at Harvard University, and has been visiting professor at the universities of Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Veracruz and Malaysia. He has published several books and over one hundred academic papers and chapters. Additionally, he was President of the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) between May 2004 and May 2008, Academic Director of the Fundación Ortega-Marañón (2012-2015), President of the Spanish Association of Political Studies (2013-2015) and member of IPSA’s Executive Council (2014-2016).

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Democratic Theory

Advisory Board: Amy Allen (Penn State University), Benjamin Barber (City University of New York), Rajeev Bhargava (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies), David Chandler (University of Westminster), Fred Dallmayr (University of Notre Dame), John Keane (University of Sydney), James R. Martel (San Francisco State University), Chantal Mouffe (University of Westminster), Davide Panagia (UCLA), Bhikhu Parekh (House of Lords), and Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)

Democracy is being re-thought almost everywhere today: with the widespread questioning of the rationalist assumptions of classical liberalism, and the implications this has for representational competition; with the Arab Spring, destabilizing many assumptions about the geographic spread of democracy; with the deficits of democracy apparent in the Euro-zone crisis, especially as it affects the management of budget deficits; with democracy increasingly understand as a process of social empowerment and equalization, blurring the lines of division between formal and informal spheres; and with growing demands for democracy to be reformulated to include the needs of those currently marginalized or even to include the representation of non-human forms of life with whom we share our planet.

Routledge Advances in Democratic Theory publishes state of the art theoretical reflection on the problems and prospects of democratic theory when many of the traditional categories and concepts are being reworked and rethought in our globalized and complex times.

The series is published in cooperation with the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London, UK.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory