European Political Science

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 37–52 | Cite as

The populism/anti-populism frontier and its mediation in crisis-ridden Greece: from discursive divide to emerging cleavage?

  • Yannis StavrakakisEmail author
  • Giorgos Katsambekis


Along with other South-European countries, since 2008, Greece has experienced deep economic and social dislocation, leading to a crisis of representation and triggering populist mobilisations and anti-populist reactions. This article focuses on the antagonistic language games developed around populist representations, something that has not attracted much attention in the relevant literature. Highlighting the need to study anti-populism together with populism, focusing on their mutual constitution from a discursive perspective, it articulates a brief yet comprehensive genealogy of populist and anti-populist actors (parties and media) in Greece, exploring their discursive strategies. Moving on, it identifies the main characteristics this antagonistic divide took on within the newly contested, crisis-ridden sociopolitical field, highlighting the implications for a contemporary understanding of cleavages, with potentially broader implications.


Populism Anti-populism Cleavage Greece Crisis Mediation SYRIZA 



This article draws on the conclusions of the POPULISMUS research project (, which was undertaken at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2014–2015), with funding from the European Union (European Social Fund) and National Funds (Greece) within the framework of the Operational Programme ‘Education and Lifelong Learning’ (Action ‘ARISTEIA II’). Giorgos Katsambekis wishes to thank the Research Committee of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki ( for its generous support through the ‘Excellence Scholarship’ for postdoctoral researchers (2016).


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Political SciencesAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessaloníkiGreece
  2. 2.Department of Politics, History & International Relations, School of Social, Political and Geographical SciencesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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