1st Edition

Roads Not Taken Progressive Populism in Historical Perspective

By Michael Kimmel Copyright 2025
    210 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Using a range of in-depth historical case studies, this timely work excavates the oft-forgotten tradition of progressive populism and highlights the relevance of such movements to our own tumultuous times.

    Populism in its twenty-first century guise is often centred around exclusionary notions of nationality and the exultation of an authoritarian leader. Yet, as this book demonstrates, this has not always been the case. As demonstrated by the Levellers in the English Civil War and the Sans-Culottes in the French Revolution, the ideas of progressive populism have often surfaced in the midst of revolution where they have sought to ensure that revolutions do not deviate from their lofty ideals. Progressive populism has also emerged during periods of crisis and social dislocation, reasserting conceptions of the ‘moral economy’ and a romanticised view of the past in support of their goals. By looking at the trajectories of past iterations of these ideas, Kimmel retrieves a different populism, based not upon the illusory entity of ‘the people’, but something more concrete: the capacity of real people, living their lives with a sense of both autonomy and community.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars in disciplines including sociology, history, and political science.

    1. Populism Left and Right

    2. “Combustible Material”: Artisanal Virtue Among the Levellers

    3. “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”: The Sans-Culottes in the Sections of Revolutionary Paris

    4. Serfs Up: The Countryside Strikes Back

    5. The Aesthetics of Producerism: The Arts and Crafts Movement in the United States and Britain

    6. Ethnicity as Peoplehood: Populism Against the Nation-State

    7. “Oligarchs, Tremble!”: Progressive Populism Goes South

    Epilogue: Progressive Populism Today and Tomorrow


    Michael Kimmel is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies Emeritus at Stony Brook University, New York, USA, where he founded the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities. His research interests encompass gender studies, social movements, and historical sociology. He is the author of numerous books including Revolution: A Sociological Interpretation (1990), Manhood in America: A Cultural History (1996), Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era (2013),  Healing from Hate: How Young Men Get Into – and Out of – Violent Extremism (2017), The Gendered Society (Sixth Edition, 2016), and the best-seller Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (2008). He is also the founder and former Editor of the scholarly journal Men and Masculinities.