Liberal, Popular and Authoritarian Forms of Populism: A Possible Genealogy

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Sociology

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Crises of Postwar Lib. Dem.
Spring 2024
Taught By: Carlos Forment
Section: A

CRN: 14826

Credits: 4

This course examines the postwar and contemporary dispute over the liberal, popular, and authoritarian aspects of populism in several countries of the central core (USA, Britain, France, Italy) and the peripheral fringe (Argentina, India), as exemplified in landmark works by several insightful scholars: Seymour M. Lipset, Margaret Canovan, Nadia Urbinati, Pierre Rosanvallon, Gino Germani, Guillermo O’Donnell, Ernesto Laclau, and Partha Chatterjee. Some of them rely on abstract truths and decontextualized concepts to depict populism as a mirror-like reflection of them; others construe it as a practical response to changing historical contingencies; and still others combine key elements from each to make sense of populism. Our course offers an alternative to these ‘theoreticist’ and ‘historicist’ accounts of populism based on the primacy and centrality of the following ethical-political traditions: functionalism, skepticism, anti-totalitarianism, liberal socialism, a-synchronic modernization, delegative democracy, post-marxian hegemony, and biopolitical governmentality. Following the Cold War, scholars identified with one of these traditions sometimes disagreed with like-minded thinkers that differed in their conception of populism due in large part to their divergent way of analyzing political life, with the following two approaches predominating among them: rationalism vs. judgment. Combining these modes of analyzing political life with the tradition-centered perspective on populism provides a more differentiated, nuanced, and convincing framework for making sense of the current debate which has become increasingly predictable, rigid, and stale.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Sociology (SOC)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 6:02am EDT 6/20/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Tuesday, Thursday
Times: 12:00pm - 1:40pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 1001
Date Range: 1/23/2024 - 5/9/2024