1st Edition

The Ideational Approach to Populism
Concept, Theory, and Analysis

ISBN 9781138716537
Published September 16, 2018 by Routledge
468 Pages 69 B/W Illustrations

USD $42.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Populism is on the rise in Europe and the Americas. Scholars increasingly understand populist forces in terms of their ideas or discourse, one that envisions a cosmic struggle between the will of the common people and a conspiring elite. In this volume, we advance populism scholarship by proposing a causal theory and methodological guidelines – a research program – based on this ideational approach. This program argues that populism exists as a set of widespread attitudes among ordinary citizens, and that these attitudes lie dormant until activated by weak democratic governance and policy failure. It offers methodological guidelines for scholars seeking to measure populist ideas and test their effects. And, to ground the program empirically, it tests this theory at multiple levels of analysis using original data on populist discourse across European and US party systems; case studies of populist forces in Europe, Latin America, and the US; survey data from Europe and Latin America; and experiments in Chile, the US, and the UK. The result is a truly systematic, comparative approach that helps answer questions about the causes and effects of populism.

Table of Contents

Introduction: the ideational approach

Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University

Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Diego Portales University


Chapter 1 - Textual analysis: big data approaches

Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University

Bruno Castanho Silva, University of Cologne

Chapter 2 - Textual analysis: the UK party system

Luke March, University of Edinburgh

Chapter 3 - Textual analysis: an inclusive approach in Croatia

Marijana Grbeša, University of Zagreb

Berto Šalaj, University of Zagreb

Chapter 4 - Expert surveys

Nina Wiesehomeier, IE University

Chapter 5 - Elite surveys

Ioannis Andreadis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Saskia P. Ruth, German Institute of Global and Area Studies

Chapter 6 - Public opinion surveys: evaluating existing measures

Steven M. Van Hauwaert, University of Mainz

Christian H. Schimpf, University of Mannheim

Flavio Azevedo, Cologne University

Chapter 7 - Public opinion surveys: a new measure

Bruno Castanho Silva, University of Cologne

Ioannis Andreadis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki 

Eva Anduiza, Autonomous University of Barcelona 

Nebojša Blanuša, University of Zagreb 

Yazmin Morlet Corti, National Autonomous University of Mexico 

Gisela Delfino, Argentine Catholic University and National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Argentina 

Guillem Rico, Autonomous University of Barcelona 

Saskia P. Ruth, University of Zurich, NCCR Democracy 

Bram Spruyt, Free University of Brussels 

Marco Steenbergen, University of Zurich 

Levente Littvay, European Consortium for Political Research


Chapter 8 - Populist mobilization across time and space

Hans-Georg Betz, University of Zurich

Chapter 9 - Populist success in Latin America and Western Europe: ideational and party-system-centered rxplanations

Simon Bornschier, University of Zurich

Chapter 10 - Populist voting in Chile, Greece, Spain, and Bolivia

Ioannis Andreadis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University

Ivan Llamazares, University of Salamanca

Matthew M. Singer, University of Connecticut

Chapter 11 - Populist success: a qualitative comparative analysis

Bruno Castanho Silva, University of Cologne

Chapter 12 - Populism in Spain: the role of ideational change in Podemos

Margarita Gómez-Reino, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

Iván Llamazares Valduvieco, University of Salamanca

Chapter 13 - Populism in Venezuela: the role of the opposition

Sahar Abi-Hassan, Boston University

Chapter 14 - Populism in Belgium: the mobilization of the body anti-politic

Koen Abts, Institute of Social and Political Opinion Research

Thierry Kochuyt, Nottingham Trent Univeristy

Stijn van Kessel, Queen Mary University of London

Chapter 15 - Populism in the US: the evolution of the Trump constituency

Wendy Rahn, University of Minnesota

Chapter 16 - Activating populist attitudes: the role of corruption

Ethan C. Busby, Northwestern University

David Doyle, University of Oxford

Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University

Nina Wiesehomeier, IE University

Chapter 17 - Populist voters: the role of authoritarianism and ideology

Rosario Aguilar, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE).

Ryan E. Carlin, Georgia State University


Ryan E. Carlin, Georgia State University

Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University

Levente Littvay, European Consortium for Political Research

Jennifer McCoy, Georgia State University

Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Diego Portales University

View More



Kirk A. Hawkins, Brigham Young University, USA.

Ryan E. Carlin, Georgia State University, USA.

Levente Littvay, Central European University, Hungary.

Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.


"This pioneering volume is the first collection of empirical, mostly comparative, studies of populism at the elite and mass level, which is truly grounded in the increasingly dominant ideational approach. It should be required reading for both the few old and the many new scholars of populism." Cas Mudde, Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor, University of Georgia, USA

"This volume is sure to be a landmark in the comparative study of populism. It brings together a team of scholars who share an ideational approach to the study of populism, and it demonstrates how this approach lends itself to a wide range of methodological tools – both quantitative and qualitative – to empirically analyze populist ideas in elite political discourse and mass beliefs. In so doing, it brings much-needed analytical coherence to a field of study where scholars too often disagree on fundamental concepts and speak past one another." Kenneth M. Roberts, Richard J. Schwartz Professor, Cornell University, USA

"The Ideational Approach to Populism is a timely and compelling book that takes seriously the ideology and appeals of populist movements. Its rigorous and compelling analyses of populism range from Latin American party manifestoes, to episodes of historical populist mobilization in Europe, to experimental evidence regarding the role of corruption as a catalyst for populist support. The result is a rich and multi-faceted volume that is a must-read for scholars of populism – and for others intrigued by the phenomenon." Anna Grzymala-Busse, Michelle and Kevin Douglass Professor, Political Science, Stanford, USA