Today, there is no comparable threat to Western democracies as the rise of right-wing populism. While it has played an increasing role at least since the 1990s, only the social consequences of the global financial crises in 2008 have given its break that led to UK’s ‘Brexit’ and the election of Donald Trump as US President in 2016 but also promoted what has been called left populism in countries that were hit the hardest from both the banking crisis and consequential neo-liberal austerity politics in the EU like Greece and Portugal.
In 2017, the French Front National (FN) attracted many voters in the French Presidential elections; we have seen the radicalization of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany and the formation of centre-right government in Austria. Further, we have witnessed the consolidation of autocratic regimes as in the EU member states Poland and Greece. All these manifestations of right-wing populism share a common feature: they attack or even compromise the core elements of democratic societies such as the separation of powers, protection of minorities, or the rule of law.
Despite a broad debate on the re-emergence of ‘populism’ in the transition from the twentieth to the twenty-first century that has brought forth many interesting findings, a lack of sociological reasoning cannot be denied as sociology itself withdrew from theorising populism decades ago and left the field to mainly political sciences and history. In a sense, Populism and the Crisis of Democracy considers itself as a contribution to start with filling this lacuna. Written in a direct and clear style, this set of volumes will be an invaluable reference for students and scholars in the field of political theory, political sociology and European Studies.
Gregor Fitzi is co-director of the Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity at University of Potsdam, Germany. After his PhD in Sociology at the University of Bielefeld, he was assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Heidelberg, Germany and held a temporary position as full professor at the University of Bielefeld. His most recent publication is The Challenge of Modernity: Georg Simmel’s Sociological Theory (Routledge, 2018).
Jürgen Mackert is Professor of Sociology and co-director of the ‘Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Pluralism’ at Potsdam University, Germany. His research interests are in sociology of citizenship, political economy, closure theory, collective violence. His most recent publication is The Transformation of Citizenship (Routledge, 2017), in 3 volumes, co-edited with Bryan S. Turner.
Bryan S. Turner is Professor of the Sociology of Religion at the Australian Catholic University, Honorary Professor at Potsdam University and Honorary Fellow in The Edward Cadbury Centre, Birmingham University. In 2015 he received the Max Planck Award from the Max-Planck Society and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany. He is editor of Citizenship Studies, the Journal of Classical Sociology, and the Journal of Religious and Political Practice. He is also Chief Editor of the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2017).