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Iver B. Neumann


Part of diplomatic work is public, so a diplomat must be presentable — that is, clean, smart or decent enough to be seen in public. This article starts by recognising the recent spate of work on aesthetics and representation in social sciences and diplomacy studies, and questions why it occurred so late when representation has always been constitutive of diplomacy, perhaps because of Enlightenment distrust of visuals and reaction against Nazi aestheticising of politics. Part two sets out what it takes to stage a successful visual performance and points to three factors: the agent’s own preparations; audience assessment; and mediatisation to a broader public. Part three analyses two successful performances of accreditation, highlighting how they succeeded because they were deemed particularly presentable by being remarkably smart and decent, respectively. In conclusion, I argue that smartness trumps decency. This offers female diplomats more options than males, but also incurs greater risks.

Paul Sharp, Jan Melissen, Constance Duncombe and Marcus Holmes

Adrian Blau

This paper offers a systematic analysis of Hobbes’s practical political thought. Hobbes’s abstract philosophy is rightly celebrated, but he also gave much practical advice on how to avoid disorder. Yet he is typically interpreted too narrowly in this respect, especially by those who only read him economistically. Other scholars supplement this economistic focus with sociological or political interpretations, but to my knowledge, no one stresses all three aspects of his thought. This paper thus examines each of Hobbes’s practical proposals for avoiding corruption and a state of nature. Hobbes clearly uses economistic, sociological and political approaches, which involve shaping incentives, desires/preferences, and opportunities, respectively. This intentionally anachronistic framework helps us see further, highlighting Hobbes’s rich and wide-ranging practical proposals for avoiding disorder – a crucial part of his theory.

Tristan Guerra, Chloé Alexandre and Frédéric Gonthier


There has been much speculation as to how to interpret the Yellow Vest movement in France. Building on a survey of more than 5,000 Yellow Vests, this research report argues that producerism is key to make sense of the protesters’ populist attitudes and relationship to politics.

Krisztián Szabados


The rise of populism coincides with a new wave of anti-intellectualism, articulated in the “War on Science.” This paper argues that there is no empirical evidence that the global surge of populism is accompanied by a general anti-science trend. However, there are similarities between the dissemination of scientific falsehoods in mass media and social media and the ways populist politicians use media to their end. First, this paper analyzes the history and the underlying sociological, psychological and cultural causes of the anti-science dispositions. Then, through the case studies of the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Hungary, the attitudes populist leaders exhibit towards science is discussed. Finally, the paper synthesizes the applicable scholarly literature from various disciplines to create an adequate framework for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary communication strategy for the pro-science camp.

Critical Debates in Populism Studies

A Review of Three Short Introductions

Matthew Rhodes-Purdy

Amy Skonieczny and Amentahru Wahlrab


It is now without question that populism is spreading around the globe. However, what populism is, how it should be understood and whether or not it is a useful and functional concept is still decidedly under debate. In this Special Issue of Populism, our authors dive into the heart of an emerging and explosive research agenda, and bring insight, empirical data and new ways of connecting populism to globalism in a worldwide context. In our introduction to the issue Emerging Global Populisms, we situate the contributing articles and discuss the contributions in light of the broader research on populism in a global setting.

Mapping Antiglobalist Populism

Bringing Ideology Back In

Manfred B. Steger


This article argues that the current explosion of right-wing national-populism is intricately connected to shifting perceptions of globalization in the world. I contend that a return to the once dominant but now frequently criticized ideational approach to the study of populism as ideology or discourse can provide insightful, if incomplete, explanations of the current populist moment. After a brief opening overview of some influential conceptual perspectives on populism, the article offers an appraisal of some major criticisms leveled against the ideological paradigm by advocates of competing approaches. I argue that the widespread portrayal of populism as a “thin-centered” ideology does not capture the ideational constellation of what I call antiglobalist populism. The currently dominant strain is reflected most prominently in “Trumpism” and similar European manifestations. To make my case, I apply the qualitative method of morphological discourse analysis (MDA) to key 2016 campaign speeches delivered by then presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and to related public remarks presented by British national-populist leader Nigel Farage on American soil. The research findings presented in this article suggest that globalization-related concepts have moved to the core and adjacent symbolic environment of antiglobalist populism. Thus, the general assumption of a “thin” conceptual core of national-populism no longer holds because its morphology has been significantly enriched. Bringing ideology back into populism studies serves the much-needed rehabilitation of a valuable perspective that has been written off too prematurely by many populism scholars.

Paul Adler and Todd Tucker


The policy process literature focuses on technocratic insiders, while scholarship on populism hones in on demagogic outsiders. The latter’s distrust of elites, compromise, and nuance makes them potentially effective in opposition or government, but less obviously as intervenors in policy formation between elections. We argue that, under certain conditions, populists can effectively insert themselves into policy processes without seizing power or even reducing the basic polarity they believe exists between “the elite” and “the people.” In particular, populists can “monkey wrench” the policy process by getting maligned elites to act against their own interests, even if the populists themselves can agree on no alternative policies. Using original archival materials, we illustrate how the transnational movement against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in the late 1990s deployed monkey-wrenching. In so doing, we contribute to an understanding of how Benjamin Moffitt’s conception of the populist style can be deployed to analyze left-wing transnational nongovernmental policy entrepreneurs, instead of the right-wing national government aspirants who are often focused upon in political science research on populism. We conclude that interdisciplinary scholarship between political scientists and historians can identify circumstances when populists’ influence on policy is more likely.