Populism and nativism in contemporary regionalist and nationalist politics: A minimalist framework for ideologically opposed parties

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Recent literature on the centre–periphery debate in European politics has produced a wide range of composite paradigms of regionalism, nationalism, and populism and nativism. A number of these definitions, however, tend to overemphasise the importance of populism by either framing it as a core ideology or by conflating it with the nationalism or regionalism of a specific party. This article makes three innovative contributions to populist studies by sustaining an ideational approach to populism and its combination with regionalist and nationalist ideologies. First, the article addresses the varied and at times conflicting composite paradigms of regionalism, nationalism, and populism by proposing a minimalist ‘populist regionalist’ and ‘populist nationalist’ conceptual framework; this places the emphasis on the type of nationalism and regionalism (left- or right-wing, civic or ethnic) to which populism and (potentially) nativism are attached. Second, by emphasising a clear distinction between populism and nativism, the article adds to a growing field of literature which aims to address the problem of ‘populist hype’. Finally, the contribution of a brief comparative case study illustrates how populism represents a key link between nationalists and regionalists ranging from the far-left to the far-right which are otherwise separated by nativism.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date12 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2021


  • minority nationalism
  • nativism
  • populism
  • regionalism
  • state nationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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