The past fifteen years have seen a resurgence of populist politics in Europe ranging from parties such as the Front national in France to the left-wing party Podemos in Spain. What is the significance of these movements at a moment of persistent economic malaise, intense popular frustration with unemployment and social inequality, anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism? Three distinguished experts in the field, Laurent Bouvet (Université de Versailles à St. Quentin en Yvelines), Sofia Perez (Boston University) and Cas Mudde (University of Georgia) offer their perspectives.
Sofia Perez (Boston University) will describe the rise of Podemos as a party that has fundamentally altered the Spanish political landscape (on the whole very stable going back to the 1980s) in record time. There is an intense debate in Spain as to the ideological nature of Podemos , the type of populism it represents, the reasons for its success, and the consequences of its unusually rapid rise. Perez will discuss some of the ideological underpinnings of Podemos, its strategic reliance on ideological openness, and the characteristics of the Podemos electorate.
Cas Mudde (University of Georgia) will speak on, “A Populist Zeitgeist? Assessing the Rise of Populist Parties in Europe.” He will focus on the electoral strength of the main populist parties in contemporary Europe, and will draw some general conclusions about their strengths and weaknesses.
Laurent Bouvet (Université de Versailles de St. Quentin en Yvelines) will examine the phenomenon of cultural insecurity, "the expression of an anxiety, a fear, perhaps even a dread in regard to what one experiences, sees, perceives, and feels about upheavals in the order of the world and of society, which may be close or remote, familiar or alien." He will relate this concept to the recent rise of extreme-right populism in France.