Volume 19, Number 1, 2023

On the theme: «The Rise of Populism in the Twentieth Century: What Methodological and Thematic Tracks?»

Editor: Jocelyne Praud

Jocelyne Praud

Foreword: The Rise of Populism in the Twenty-First Century: What Methodological and Thematic Tracks? (p. 15-24)

Frédirick Guillaume Dufour et Olivier Bérubé-Sasseville

«Comparative Trajectories and Heuristic Potential of the Idealtype of National-Populism» (p. 27-57)

Abstract: It is difficult for scholars of populism to establish an unequivocal definition of national-populism. As early as the 1960s, Ernest Gellner and Ghita Ionescu (1969) outlined different uses of the concept, while Isaiah Berlin emphasized the tension between the concept and the myriad of cases it can refer to. In this article, we relate developments in the sociology of nationalism, the recent literature on right-wing populism, and the literature specifically on the radical right in France. We focus on two distinct trajectories through which the idealtype of national-populism has developed in order to account for the relationship between nationalism and populism. We show how the sociologist Rogers Brubaker (2020) came to defend the importance of this idealtype and then relate these theoretical developments to the evolution of the concept of national-populism in France by exposing its particularities.

Keywords: Populism, National-Populism, Radical Right, Far Right, Fascism, Neofascism, Roger Brubaker, Idealtype.

Albert Ogien

«Left Populism and Democracy» (p. 59-73)

Abstract: In the contemporary democratic public sphere, the term “populism” is used in a somewhat undifferentiated way as referring rather prosaically to a strategy of gaining power through the ballot box. When this strategy is called right-wing, it is deployed by reactionary forces (the xenophobic, supremacist or fascist extreme right). When it is called left-wing, it is the one adopted by progressive or revolutionary movements that aim at realizing the will of the working classes to rid themselves of the forms of oppression they are suffering from. In fact, the label « left populism » is applied to those political formations that position themselves to the left of social democracy, which they accuse of having abandoned its vocation. Therefore, this article sets out to describe the project that these formations are pursuing by seeking to answer two questions: 1) Is the rhetorical style of populism compatible with the principles of autonomy and rationality proper to the left-wing tradition?; 2) What distinguishes the practices of left-wing populism from the direct democratic practices of ordinary citizens who are politically active?

Keywords: Political Activism, Critique of Social Democracy, Direct Democracy, Mouffe, Left Populism.

Simon Laflamme

«Populism and Non-Populism: A Comparative Study of Political Platforms» (p. 75-130)

Abstract: Many studies have highlighted various characteristics of populist discourse. This raises the question of the extent to which populist discourse differs from non-populist discourse. To answer this question, we textometrically subjected the programs of ten populist and ten nonpopulist political actors, confronting two opponents in the same country. The analysis reveals that populists and non-populists have much in common, constrained as they are to adjust their opinions to the political questions related to a country and to the general requirements of the dynamic between a contender for government and the electorate. The analysis also finds some dissimilarities, such as the fact that populist platforms are proportionally more insistent than non-populists on economic issues and that non-populist platforms are more animated than others by social democratic principles.

Keywords: Populism, Non-populism, Textometry, Lexicometry, Political Programs, Political Manifestos, Political Platforms, Comparative Analysis.

Gilles Ivaldi

«Anger and the Flag: What Were the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Ukraine War on Individual Support for Populist Candidates in the 2022 French Presidential Election?» (p. 131-199)

Abstract: While a link between populism and crisis is generally posited, the relationship between these two concepts remains relatively fuzzy. Using data from the 2022 French election survey, this paper examines the effects that the “polycrisis” produced by the combination of the CVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war and their economic fallout has had on individual populist voting in the presidential election. The paper finds heterogeneous effects across the main populist candidates, and that the direction of such effects was also conditional on voters’ evaluation of government performance. Our findings contribute to the general understanding of the links between populism and crisis. They indicate that voters’ interpretation of crises gives particular salience and meaning to them, which then significantly influences their vote.

Keywords: Populism, Crisis, Voting, 2022 Presidential Election, France.

Morgane Beaumier

«Right- and Left-Wing Populism: The Cases of Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon» (p. 201-236)

Abstract: This article analyzes how populist discourses vary depending on political orientation. More precisely, it explores in a comparative manner the discourse of Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. 38 non-institutional discourses and 53 institutional discourses are studied with the theoretical framework of Raoul Girardet. The latter highlights the presence of four populist myths in the speeches of French politicians: conspiracy, golden age, savior, unity. Subsequently, a second comparison between two types of speeches will also be made. It seems that Le Pen and Mélenchon do not make similar use of the four myths in their speeches. While the conspiracy myth is used similarly by both politicians, the Golden Age and Unity myths are only partially so. The last myth (the myth of the savior) is not used in a comparable way. Moreover, Mélenchon’s speeches remain relatively stable depending on the location, while those of Le Pen vary much more.

Keywords: Populism, Institutionalization, Discourse, Myths, Political Communication.

Thomás Zicman de Barros

«The Different Populisms of the Yellow Vests: A Psychosocial Approach» (p. 239-277)

Abstract: The Yellow Vests movement has often been described as “populist”. Based on a psychosocial analysis, this article assesses the pertinence of the term and discusses how the experience of the Yellow Vests contributes to populism studies. The first part of the article introduces the Yellow Vests movement and discusses the suitability of using the term populism to characterize it, considering in particular how differently diverse theoretical approaches assess the relationship between populism and democracy. It is first argued that the movement can be called populist because it is able to include subalternized sectors in politics in an aesthetically transgressive way. However, in and of itself this label does not indicate anything about the democratic character of the protests. The second part of the article presents a series of in-depth interviews with twenty protesters to assess the democratic character of the movement. The article concludes that the Yellow Vests demonstrate that anti-democratic and radical democratic ethical positions can coexist within the same populist movement.

Keywords: Yellow Vests, Populism, Radical Democracy, Psychosocial Studies, Collective Identities.

Frédéric Boily

«Populist One-Upmanship: The Leadership Race of the Alberta United Conservatives (2022)» (p. 279-317)

Abstract: This paper analyzes the United Conservative Party of Alberta’s leadership race which took place in the summer of 2022 and led to the victory of Danielle Smith. The analysis is based on a conception of populism as a (protest and identity) style, as well as on the idea that leadership races create conditions favourable to displays of populism. As a result of a context conducive to the denunciation of political elites, a populist one-upmanship occurred between the three main candidates (Danielle Smith, Brian Jean and Travis Toews) who competed by proposing increasingly populist and autonomist reforms to distinguish themselves from one another. The paper argues that populism and, in particular, protest populism, was expressed in different ways, from the denunciation of the Trudeau and Kenney governments to the criticisms of the World Economic Forum for quietly acting against Alberta’s economic interests and of Quebec for taking undue advantage of Alberta’s wealth.

Keywords: Populism, Alberta, Danielle Smith, Jason Kenney, Autonomism, World Economic Forum.

Jean-Daniel Collomb

«Right-Wing Energy Populism in the United States: How Will Climate Action Impact American Democracy?» (p. 319-355)

Abstract: This article offers a reflection on the effects of right-wing energy populism in the contemporary United States. The power and influence of right-wing energy populism undermines the ability of the US to adopt a long-term and consistent decarbonization strategy, for four reasons: 1) It may cause decarbonization policies to be discontinued; 2) It partially shapes decarbonization policies put in place by Democrats, who are unwilling to be accused of destroying the American way of life; 3) It runs counter to Democratic claims to US climate leadership on the world stage; and 4) It makes it less likely that the US will accede to requests for financial aid for adaptation and mitigation made by many developing countries.

Keywords: Climate Action, Climate Change, Climate Skepticism, Nationalism, Populism.

Xavier Mellet

«The Rise of Populisms in the 21st Century: Ambiguities and Specificities of the Japanese Situation» (p. 357-397)

Abstract: Despite the absence of alternation in power since 2012 and the low weight of opposition forces, Japan is not immune to the rise of populisms. A growing body of literature, in English and Japanese, describes their characteristics and seeks to identify their main incarnations. Nourished by structural trends such as the personalization of political practice, and an increasing political distrust, Japanese populism has not yet crystallized in an unmistakable way: There is no large-scale populist party assimilated to a specific ideology. This ambiguity of the relationship between theory and casuistry makes Japan a relevant case for the study of the multiple facets of populisms, and their relationship to a changing democratic competition. This contribution studies the relationship between the characteristics of Japanese populisms and the specificities of the political environment in which they evolve, so as to go beyond a binary conception that distinguishes populists from non-populists, bearing in mind that the Japanese situation offers many hybrid cases.

Keywords: Populism, Japan, Koizumi, Abe, Political Marketing, Political Distrust.

Open Topic

Monique Dalud-Vincent

«Finding Equivalent Positions in a Network: Definitions, Tests, and Limits» (p. 401-460)

Abstract: In this article we present the different formal definitions (and their operationalizations via the Pajek tool) of equivalent positions in a network by deconstructing them to identify the underlying sociological assumptions. Through pedagogical examples, we show their limits and the difficulties encountered by the user when it comes to choosing a particular method of analysis. With the RéSo tool, which emphasizes the link between individual trajectories and positions, we show the interest of keeping a discrete approach to identify more or less central or peripheral positions, in particular on the basis of an application in the framework of an associative environment.

Keywords: equivalent position, network, structural equivalence, regular equivalence.

Book Reviews

Jenny Blondeau et Emmanuel Guay

Joie militante. Construire des luttes en prise avec leurs mondes, carla bergman et Nick Montgomery, translated from English by Juliette Rousseau, Rennes, Éditions du commun, 2021, 272 p. (p. 463-468)

Alessandro Giuseppe Drago et Khandys Agnant

La rébellion est-elle passée à droite ? Dans le laboratoire mondial des contre-cultures néoractionnaires, Pablo Stefanoni, translated from Spanish by Marc Saint-Upéry, Paris, La Découverte, coll. « Cahiers libres », 2022, 320 p. (p. 469-473)

Nazaire Joinville

(Dé)chiffrer les locuteurs. La quantification des langues à l’épreuve des idéologies langagières, Philippe Humbert, Neuchâtel (Suisse), Alphil et Presses universitaires Suisses, coll. « Sociétés », 2022, 388 p. (p. 475-479)