'A moment' or the own 'logic' of politics? An appraisal of contemporary Latin American populism

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Is populism a particular political moment in which the social whole is simplified because it is divided in two opposing camps, the people versus the elite, or, instead, populism refers to the inherent dynamic of politics in the production of empty signifiers, and, therefore, politics and populism should be treated as synonymous in political analysis? The objective of the paper is to reflect about this theoretical ambiguity present in the debate on populism in the light of two different contemporary Latin American experiences, Argentina and Brazil. The paper argues that, despite the noticeable differences between the two cases, the notion of populism becomes particularly useful for empirical research when applied in its narrow sense, namely, as a moment of discursive disruption. Left-of-center government coalitions successfully destabilized the neoliberal discourse which, over the past fifteen years, institutionalized a type of “post-neoliberal governance”. The paper argues that while it makes sense to call populism the former it does not to do the same with the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
EventPolitical Studies Association - UK, Brighton , UK United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Mar 201623 Mar 2016


ConferencePolitical Studies Association
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


  • Populism
  • Latin America
  • Argentina
  • Brazil


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