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Global Religious and Secular Dynamics

The Modern System of Classification

José Casanova


Global Religious and Secular Dynamics offers a global historical perspective that integrates European theories of modern secularization and competing theories of global religious revival as interrelated dynamics. In the first section Casanova examines the emergence of the modern religious/secular binary system of classification within a critical review of Émile Durkheim’s and Max Weber’s divergent theories of religion. The modern system of classification is contrasted with the pre-axial one, in which all reality was organized according to the binary sacred/profane, and with the post-axial one, which was organized according to the binary transcendent/immanent.

The second and third sections contrast the internal European road of secularization without religious pluralization with the external colonial road of global intercultural and religious encounters, particularly in Asia, that led to the global system of religious pluralism. The final section examines the contemporary intertwinement of religious and secular dynamics through the globalization of the immanent frame and the expansion of global denominationalism.

The Challenge of Populism

Why Populist Politics Spreads in the World

John Dunn


Populism is not a determinate political phenomenon, but a heuristic category deployed to diagnose the sources of danger to well established representative democracy through the workings of its core institutions. As a political charge, populism is deployed by defenders of established parties to denounce interlopers who threaten them at the ballot box and in less formal settings. When actualised, it is a natural political retribution for governmental ineffectuality in face of protracted crisis. Populism is no danger for Korea. The level of risk for populist triumph is the reciprocal of prior failure in democratic government. Both the Trump Presidency and the Brexit Referendum are populist responses to prior governmental failure in well-established democracies. Populism is always a consequence, not a cause, of political failure.

Carlos de la Torre and Oscar Mazzoleni


This contribution discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Cas Mudde’s minimalist definition to study populism. It argues that his proposal might facilitate consensus among scholars, yet his conceptualization is an obstacle to grasp the complexity of populism in its diverse manifestations over space and time. Moreover, some underlying normative assumptions limit the reach of his concept to small rightwing populist European parties at the fringes of the political system. The article argues for the necessity to recognize pluralism and hybridism avoiding any reductionism in populism scholarship. Populism cannot be reduced to one of its components, like a moralist ideology. Populism is also a strategy, a political style, and a discursive frame.

Gilles Ivaldi and Oscar Mazzoleni


This article aims to develop a conceptual framework to address the economic dimension of right-wing populism. Moving beyond classic left-right economics and the divide between economic and cultural approaches, it argues that the political economy of right-wing populists is intertwined with cultural values in the construction of the ‘true’ people as an economic community whose well-being is in decline and under threat, and therefore needs to be restored. Looking at populist traditions across Europe and the United States, the paper emphasizes the significance of ‘producerist’ frames in economic populism. This is illustrated through an empirical analysis of differences and similarities in the economic policies and discourses of three established right-wing populist parties based in Europe (FN, SVP and UKIP), and the Tea Party and Donald Trump in the United States. We find that economic populist frames are common to all of the parties under scrutiny, albeit subject, however, to different interpretations of the producerist antagonism and groups. Our findings confirm that the intersection between economic populism and producerism provides a new—and fruitful—perspective on right-wing populism, while simultaneously demonstrating the relevance of a transatlantic approach to the study of the populist phenomenon.

Sang-Jin Han


This paper is aimed at two goals. The first is to outline major genealogical traces of populism in South Korea. The second is to develop multiple typologies of populist citizens. The first is speculative and comprehensive, while the latter is analytic and empirical. The major findings of the empirical analysis show significant attitudinal differences 1) between two groups of citizens: populist and conventionalist; 2) between two groups within populism, that is, power-oriented and public-oriented populist citizens; 3) between the neo-liberal populist and the welfare populist; and finally, 4) between the candlelight populist and the national flag populist. It is also found 5) that the multiple typologies of populist orientations are closely interrelated to merge into two distinct streams: one is conservative and the other is progressive. These findings yield many political implications that require further research and reflection.

Bi Hwan Kim


In this commentary, I raise some questions. The first is about the structural limitation of liberal democracy. The second is about the inherent weaknesses of populist democracy, the third about the future prospects of democracy in South Korea, and the last one about possible reforms that can improve the efficiency of governance in liberal democracy and populist democracy.

Taekyoon Lim


Discourses on contemporary populism owe much to the populism of the mid-20th century’s Latin America. From a Latin American perspective, the current paper critically reviews Dunn’s and Han’s papers on populism. These two papers are not quite directly comparable in their arguments because their analyses have discrete focuses and levels. Still, Dunn’s argument reasonably reflects the cases of the West whereas Han’s explains the Korean case quite effectively. One question that emerges from their discussion on populism is how generalizable their arguments are beyond the specific cases. From the perspective of Latin America, Dunn’s and Han’s arguments seem to have limited implications for understanding classical populism and contemporary neopopulism in Latin America though they provide insightful thoughts to rethink the political economy of the region with.