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Declinism and populism

05 Sep 2017 - 17:42
Photo: DVIDSHUB / Flickr
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The causes of the contemporary wave of populist successes? These can be largely explained by declinism, the feeling, shared by many, that their society is in decline, that many of the valued things are being lost or even wilfully destroyed. Many people hold the “political establishment” responsible for the supposed decline, and therefore become susceptible for populism. Using the example of the inaugural speeches of American presidents, this article also illustrates how declinism is concretely used to argue in favour of the main populist propositions.

Read the full article in our dossier: 'Populism: between renewal and breakdown of democracy'

 

Authors

Mark Elchardus
Emeritus professor of sociology at the Free University of Brussels (VUB)