The political logic of populist hype: the case of right wing populism’s ‘meteoric rise’ and its relation to the status quo

Aurelien Mondon, Jason Glynos

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

622 Downloads (Pure)


The term ‘populism’ has become ubiquitous in today’s politics and media. No longer a clichéd spectre haunting Europe, populism appears to have become a practical reality in the wake of Brexit, Donald Trump’s victory in the United States, and the French presidential elections. It appears that the people have spoken and that their wish is for reactionary right-wing politics.
Through a mix of discourse analysis and psychoanalysis, and taking examples from the United Kingdom, the US and France where populist waves have appeared to weaken and even break liberal defences, this article argues that the seemingly irresistible rise of the 'populist right' has acted as a political logic. In this view, the disproportionate coverage of such a rise, with its accompanying potent mobilisation of affect, including its implied characterisation as the alternative to the status quo, has pre-empted the contestation of some troubling norms animating the regimes of liberal representative democracy and political economy.
By doing so, the hype around right-wing populism has impoverished democratic discussion, leaving little space for the essential reassessment of the system itself, instead aligning the debate along a rather stale and unproductive divide between a liberal human rights elite and loosely-defined middle class on the one hand, and a reactionary 'people' subject to authoritarian passions on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationThessaloniki
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Publication series

NamePOPULISMUS Working Papers


  • Populism
  • Far right
  • Front National
  • UKIP
  • Democracy


Dive into the research topics of 'The political logic of populist hype: the case of right wing populism’s ‘meteoric rise’ and its relation to the status quo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this