Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Foundations of an Authoritarian Populism in an International Context

Foundations of an Authoritarian Populism in an International Context

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Abstract

The rise of populism, and its subsequent challenge to liberal democratic institutions, is an ongoing feature of twenty-first century global politics. The author contends that providing college students with theoretical tools to untangle the relationship between the logic and practices of domestic populist political movements and liberal democratic institutions empowers them to analyze critically those challenges and consider the extent to which populism is indicative of prior institutional failure. The work of Antonio Gramsci and Ernesto Laclau are used to develop a model of populism appropriate for advanced undergraduate international relations students. The cases of the Tea Party, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Victor Orbán’s rise in Hungary demonstrate the dynamics of the model and its relevance to the study of international relations and foreign policy.

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