This article focuses on two issues involved in the formation and political trajectory of populist representations within political antagonism. First, it explores the role of crisis in the articulation of populist discourse. This problematic is far from new within theories of populism but has recently taken a new turn. We thus purport to reconsider the way populism and crisis are related, mapping the different modalities this relation can take and advancing further their theorization from the point of view of a discursive theory of the political, drawing primarily on the Essex School perspective initially developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Second, this will involve focusing on the antagonistic language games developed around populist representations, something that has not attracted equal attention. Highlighting the need to study anti-populism together with populism, focusing on their mutual constitution, we will test the ensuing theoretical framework in an analysis of SYRIZA, a recent and, as a result, under-researched example of egalitarian, inclusionary populism emerging within the European crisis landscape.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Arditti, B. (2010) Populism is hegemony is politics? On Ernesto Laclau’s On Populist Reason. Constellations 17(3): 488–497.
Berezin, M. (2009) Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Canovan, M. (1999) Trust the people! Populism and the two faces of democracy. Political Studies XLVII: 2–16.
Connolly, W. (1991) Identity/Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Crouch, C. (2004) Post-Democracy. Cambridge: Polity.
Dahl, R. (2006) A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
de la Torre, C. and Arnson, C. (2013) Introduction: The evolution of Latin American populism and the debates over its meaning. In C. de la Torre and C. Arnson (eds.) Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century. Baltimore, MA: The Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 1–35.
de Saussure, F. (1959) Course in General Linguistics. New York: Philosophical Library.
Goodwin, M. (2011) Right Response: Understanding and Countering Populist Extremism in Europe. London: Chatham House.
Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Hatzidakis, K. (2011) Populism is the Greatest Enemy of Greece. Interview to Aris Ravanos, To Vima tis Kyriakis, http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/?aid=436273 (in Greek).
Hawkins, K. (2015) ‘Venezuela’. Entry for the POPULISMUS Observatory interactive map. http://observatory.populismus.gr/map.
Hay, C. (1995) Narratives of the new right and constructions of crisis. Rethinking Marxism 8(2): 60–76.
Hay, C. (1999) Crisis and the structural transformation of the state. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3): 317–344.
Hofstadter, R. (1969) North America. In: G. Ionescu and E. Gellner (eds.) Populism: Its Meanings and National Characteristics. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.
Jessop, B. (2015) The symptomatology of crises, reading crises and learning from them: Some critical realist reflections. Journal of Critical Realism 14(3): 238–271.
Katsambekis, G. (2014) The multitudinous moment(s) of the people: Democratic agency disrupting established binarisms. In: A. Kioupkiolis and G. Katsambekis (eds.) Radical Democracy and Collective Movements Today. The Biopolitics of the Multitude versus the Hegemony of the People. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 169–190.
Katsambekis, G. (2015) A government of the left in Greece: The coalition of SYRIZA with ANEL and what lies ahead. LeftEast, 30 January. http://goo.gl/TPf2SB.
Katsambekis, G. (2016) Radical left populism in contemporary Greece: Syriza’s trajectory from minoritarian opposition to power. Constellations (Early View). doi:10.1111/1467-8675.12234.
Kioupkiolis, A. (2014) Towards a regime of post-political biopower? Dispatches from Greece, 2010–2012. Theory, Culture and Society 31(1): 143–158.
Kioupkiolis, A. (2016). PODEMOS: The ambiguous promises of left-wing populism in contemporary Spain. Journal of Political Ideologies 21(2): 99–120.
Knight, A. (1998) Populism and Neo-populism in Latin America, especially Mexico. Journal of Latin American Studies 30(2): 223–248.
Koselleck, R. (1988) Critique and Crisis: Enlightenment and the Pathogenesis of Modern Society. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.
Laclau, E. (1977) Towards a theory of populism. In: Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: New Left Books, pp. 143–199.
Laclau, E. (1990) New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso.
Laclau, E. (1996) Emancipation(s). London: Verso.
Laclau, E. (2003) Discourse and Jouissance: A reply to Glynos and Stavrakakis. Journal for Lacanian Studies 1(2): 278–285.
Laclau, E. (2004) Glimpsing the future: A reply. In S. Critchley and O. Marchart (eds.) Laclau: A Critical Reader. London: Routledge, pp. 279–328.
Laclau, E. (2005a) On Populist Reason. London: Verso.
Laclau, E. (2005b) Populism: What’s in a name? In: F. Panizza (ed.) Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso.
Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. London: Verso.
Meijers, E. (ed.). (2011) Populism in Europe. Vienna: Green European Foundation.
Moffitt, B. (2015) How to perform crisis: A model for understanding the key role of crisis in contemporary populism. Government and Opposition 50(2): 189–217.
Moffitt, B. (2016) The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, Representation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Moffitt, B. and Tormey, S. (2014) Rethinking populism: Politics, mediatisation and political style. Political Studies 64: 381–397.
Mouffe, C. (2000) The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso.
Mudde, C. and Rovira Kaltwasser, C. (2012) Populism and (liberal) democracy: A framework for analysis. In: C. Mudde and C. Rovira Kaltwasser (eds.) Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–26.
Nikisianis, N., Siomos, Th., Stavrakakis, Y. and Dimitroulia, T. (2016) Populism vs. anti-populism in the Greek Press, 2014–2015. Synchrona Themata 132–133: 52–70 (in Greek).
Ostiguy, P. (2009) The high and low in politics: A two-dimensional political space for comparative analysis and political studies. Working Paper # 360, Kellogg Institute.
Painter, A. (2013) Democratic Stress, the Populist Signal and the Extremist Threat. London: Policy Network.
Papachelas, A. (2014) Falling prey to the beast of populism. Kathimerini. http://www.ekathimerini.com/160654/article/ekathimerini/comment/falling-prey-to-the-beast-of-populism.
Pappas, T. (2014) Populism and Crisis Politics in Greece. Abingdon: Palgrave Macmillan.
Perezous, Κ. (2007) History of ‘Crisis’: From Ancent Medicine to the Political Discourse of Modernity. PhD Thesis. Athens: University of Athens.
Politico (2015) The Twenty-eight People from Twenty-eight Countries who are Shaping, Shaking and Stirring Europe. http://www.politico.eu/list/politico-28/.
Prentoulis, M. and Thomassen, L. (2013) Political theory in the square: Protest, representation and subjectification. Contemporary Political Theory 12(3): 166–184.
Rancière, J. (2006) The Hatred for Democracy. London: Verso.
Roberts, K. (1995) Neoliberalism and the transformation of populism in Latin America: The Peruvian case. World Politics 48(1): 82–116.
Roberts, K. (2015) Populism, political mobilizations, and crises of political representation. In: C. de la Torre (ed.) The Promise and Perils of Populism. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, pp. 140–158.
Samaras, A. (2013) Samaras from Brussels against extremists and populists. http://www.protothema.gr/news-in-english/article/319690/samaras-from-brussels-against-extremists-and-populists/.
Samaras, A. (2015) Populism is a disease that leads to disasters. 2 November 2015. http://www.larazon.es/internacional/antonis-samaras-populism-is-a-disease-that-leads-to-disasters-FB11100005#Ttt1UkBvuO6VTECe.
Samaras, A. (2016) Samaras: ND united to Win the Battle Against Populism. http://www.kathimerini.gr/845238/article/epikairothta/politikh/samaras-h-nd-enwmenh-na-kerdisei-th-maxh-kata-toy-laikismoy (in Greek).
Sassen, S. (2014) Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press.
Schumpeter, J. (2003) Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London: Routledge.
Sevastakis, N. (2012) “Contemporary anti-populism”: From political pathology to cultural evil. In: N. Sevastakis and Y. Stavrakakis (eds.) Populism, Anti-Populism and Crisis. Athens: Nefeli, pp. 9–41 (in Greek).
Spourdalakis, M. (2014) The miraculous rise of the “Phenomenon SYRIZA”. International Critical Thought 4(3): 354–366.
Stavrakakis, Y. (2004) Antinomies of formalism: Laclau’s theory of populism and the lessons from religious populism in Greece. Journal of Political Ideologies 9(3): 253–267.
Stavrakakis, Y. (2007) The Lacanian Left. Albany: SUNY Press.
Stavrakakis, Y. (2013) Dispatches from the Greek Lab: Metaphors, strategies and debt in the European crisis. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society 18(3): 313–324.
Stavrakakis, Y. (2014) The return of “the people”: Populism and anti-populism in the shadow of the European crisis. Constellations 21(4): 505–517.
Stavrakakis, Y. and Katsambekis, G. (2014) Left-wing populism in the European periphery: The case of SYRIZA. Journal of Political Ideologies 19(2): 127–129.
Sum, N.-L. and Jessop, B. (2013) Towards a Cultural Political Economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
SYRIZA (2012) Electoral Declaration. www.syn.gr/ekl2012/eklogikidiak2012.pdf.
Taggart, P. (2000) Populism. Buckingham: Open University Press.
This article has been composed within the context of the ‘POPULISMUS: Populist Discourse and Democracy’ research project (2014–2015). POPULISMUS has been implemented at the School of Political Sciences of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki within the framework of the Operational Program ‘Education and Lifelong Learning’ (Action ‘ARISTEIA II’) and was co-funded by the European Social Fund (European Union) and Greek national funds (project no. 3217). More information is accessible from the POPULISMUS Observatory: www.populismus.gr. Many thanks are due to Ioanna Garefi for her technical support.
About this article
Cite this article
Stavrakakis, Y., Katsambekis, G., Kioupkiolis, A. et al. Populism, anti-populism and crisis. Contemp Polit Theory 17, 4–27 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-017-0142-y