Populism and the Causes of Democratic Discontent: The Road to the Current Predicament and How to Move Forward

Mercredi, 20 septembre, 2023 13:00à14:30
NCDH Room 202

What is the most appropriate and accurate depiction of the current state of democratic politics? “Populism” – “Libertarian Authoritarianism” – “Autocratic Populism”? How does the current surge in populist electoral results compare to historical antecedents? What ‘caused’ the present disillusionment with democratic institutions? What is the role played by socio-economic precariousness and disenfranchisement in citizens’ experiences of democratic politics? Who and what has been eroding public processes of democratic deliberation? Is it ‘globalization’, ‘the internet’ and social media? Is it information overflow, online hatred and ‘fake news’?  

How can we trace back the origins of the current crisis? Is today’s exhaustion of democratic collective self-governance the result of post-Welfare State neoliberal policies? Was the post-1970s rise of individualism, responsibilization and income inequality – the 99% problem – inevitable? Is it reversible? 


Professor em. Daniel Drache, York University, Toronto 

Professor em. Günter Frankenberg, Goethe University, Frankfurt 

Helen Hayes, PhD cand., McGill University 

Discussant: Simon Archer, Goldblatt Partners, LL.P. Toronto  

Moderator: Professor Peer Zumbansen, McGill University 

Background Readings for the Roundtable: 

Ingolfur Blühdorn, The dialectic of democracy: modernization, emancipation and the great regression, (2020) 27 Democratization, 389-407

Sheri Berman, The Causes of Populism in the West, (2021) 24 Annual Review of Political Science, 71-88

Chahrazad Abdallah, Predatory Capitalism, (2022) 25 M@n@gement 89-92

Michaël O’Neill, The trucker protests and the blatant failure of citizenship education, Policy Options, 11 April 2022

Ben Dinsdale, Freedom, not Fear; Truckers, not Trudeau: Why Right-Wing Populism is Going Mainstream in Canada, Oxford Policy Review, 7 March 2023

Kyle Hiebert, Tech-Fuelled Inequality Could Catalyze Populism 2.0, CIGI online, 19 October 2022

Interview with Grégoire Chamayou, La Libération, 9 nov. 2018, link

Interview with Oliver Nachtwey, Verso 2018, link

Paul J. Maher et al, The Many Guises of Populism and Crisis, (2022) 43 Political Psychology, 819-826

Sebastian Sevignani, Digital Transformations and the Ideological Formation of the Public Sphere: Hegemonic, Populist, or Popular Communication?, (2022) 39 Theory, Culture, Society, 91-109

Back to top