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Globalization and the Populist Explosion: the Significance of Ideology. Man...

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UTS Building 10, Room 10.5.580

235 Jones Street

Ultimo, NSW 2007

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Climate Justice Research Centre Public Lecture

Globalization and the Populist Explosion: the Significance of Ideology

Manfred B. Steger, University of Hawai’i-Manoa

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 presentation 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 MDA to key 2016 campaign speeches delivered by then Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump as well as related public remarks presented by British national-populist leader Nigel Farage on American soil.

The research findings presented in this talk suggest that globalization-related concepts that include significant references to ‘global climate change’ 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.

About the speaker

Manfred B. Steger is Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa and Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. He has served as an academic consultant on globalization for the US State Department and served on the editorial board of the American Political Science Review. He is the author or editor of twenty-five books and numerous articles on globalization, social and political theory, and nonviolence, including: The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror (Oxford University Press, 2008), Justice Globalism: Ideology, Crises, Policy (Sage, 2013), and What Is Global Studies? Theory & Practice (Routledge, 2017).

Further information

Climate Justice Research Centre: https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/climate-justice-research-centre

James Goodman: UTS: james.goodman@uts.edu.au



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UTS Building 10, Room 10.5.580

235 Jones Street

Ultimo, NSW 2007

Australia

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