GLCb2003 Culture and Politics of Populism

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2023
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 5 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Dr. Werner Binder (lecturer)
doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Vlastimil Havlík, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Dr. Werner Binder
Department of Sociology – Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Dr. Werner Binder
Supplier department: Department of Sociology – Faculty of Social Studies (51,00 %), Department of Political Science – Faculty of Social Studies (49,00 %)
Mon 12:00–13:40 U53
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
This course focuses on populism as a challenge for democracy and civil society. It offers an introduction to political and cultural approaches to populism, discussing definitions and theories of populism (e.g. as ideology, discourse or style), introducing relevant concepts (such as charisma, performance or class) as well as examining empirical case studies from all over the world. From the perspective of political science, specific attention is paid to the relationship of populism and democracy and to explanation of electoral success of populist parties and characteristics of their voters. From a cultural sociological perspective, the focus lies at the cultural logic of populism, its symbolic forms as well as its social contexts.
Learning outcomes
At the end of the course students should be able to explain basic approaches in the study of populism as a political ideology and cultural phenomenon, to define main features of populism and to describe the development and characteristics of the main populist parties and movements in modern democracies. Also, they will be able to describe the relationship of populism and democracy and the most common explanations behind the success of populist political parties. From a political science perspective, stress will be placed on explanations related to recent societal and economic changes and challenges (crisis of political representation and/or globalization and Europeanization). Furthermore, students will be able to understand the complexities of the relation between populism and civil society. From a cultural sociological perspective, there will be an emphasis on the explanation of the success of populism through forms of symbolic representation and action (narratives, performances, icons) in their specific social and cultural environment (class structure, media, popular culture).
  • 1. Introduction and organizational meeting (WB, VH)
  • 2. Populism – Definition and theoretical approaches I (VH)
  • 3. Populism – Definition and theoretical approaches II (WB)
  • 4. Populism and political parties (VH)
  • 5. The cultural logic of populism (WB)
  • 6. Populism and Democracy (VH)
  • 7. Reading Week
  • 8. Populism as Performance (WB)
  • 9. The electoral success of populist parties (VH)
  • 10. Populism as Cultural Backlash (WB)
  • 11. Populism in Power (VH)
  • 12. Populism and Class (WB)
  • 13. Final Session – How to fight populism (WB, VH)
  • Moffitt, Benjamin (2016): The Global Rise of Populism. Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Müller, Jan-Werner (2016): What is Populism? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Kriesi, H., & Pappas, T. S. (Eds.). (2015). European populism in the shadow of the great recession (pp. 1-22). Colchester: ECPR Press.
  • MUDDE, Cas and Cristóbal ROVIRA KALTWASSER. Populism : a very short introduction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017, 20 nečís. ISBN 9780190234874. info
  • The Oxford handbook of populism. Edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser - Paul A. Taggart - Paulina Ochoa Espejo. First edition. Oxford: Oxford university press, 2017, xvii, 704. ISBN 9780198846284. info
  • MUDDE, Cas. Populist radical right parties in Europe. 1st ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, xviii, 385. ISBN 9780521616324. info
  • LACLAU, Ernesto. On populist reason. New York: Verso, 2005, xii, 276. ISBN 1859846513. info
Teaching methods
Reading, discussion of theoretical texts and empirical studies in the class, presentations by students, written essays and response papers.
Assessment methods
1) Oral presentation or written essay (choice of the student) – 20 points.
2) Either mid-term exam (20 points) and final exam (20 points) or eight response papers (5 points each for a total number of 40 points), depending on the number of students in class.
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught once in two years.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2025.
  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
  • Permalink: