Forging “the People” in the UK: The Appeal of Populism and the Resistant Antibodies

  • Don Flynn
  • Gabriella Lazaridis
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


The UK chapter by Don Flynn and Gabriella Lazaridis presents the version of populism as a mode of doing politics on the ascendency in Britain since the 1980s in the form of the “authoritarian populism” of Margaret Thatcher’s governments. The subsequent New Labour administration rested on populist methodology promoted through a “progressive lens.” The rise of the “insurgent” populist party, UKIP, is understood as, in Arditi’s phase, an example of the “threatening underside” of the democratic discourse, when conflicts within the political order are heightened and the sense of fragmentation becomes more pervasive across society. As the political discourse revolves around definitions of “the people” and presumptions of its interests, populism also provokes reactions at the base of society, giving rise to what we term the “antibodies” of populism. The processes that give rise to these actions and the way they represent themselves in the politics are considered in a series of case studies.


Authoritarian populism Progressive populism Insurgent populism European Union “Left-behind” citizens Globalization Antibodies 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don Flynn
    • 1
  • Gabriella Lazaridis
    • 2
  1. 1.Migrants’ Rights NetworkLondonUK
  2. 2.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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