Populism As Politics of Personal Experience: The Case of Suvivirsi
This is in contrast to a typical requirement in mainstream politics: to distance one’s self from one’s demands. It is customary to present political claims as based on universally accepted and abstractly communicated principles of justice such as democracy, the market mechanism or technical efficiency, instead of mere personal preference. The populist mode of argumentation is in stark contrast particularly to typical Finnish expectations of politics, focused on efficiency.
To make this argument, I need to present four elements: first, Boltanski & Thévenot’s theory of public justification; second, a brief overview of Finnish political practices; third, Thévenot’s sociology of engagements; and fourth, the case of Suvivirsi and the populist and non-populist practices in which it is used in nationalist political argumentation. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of this interpretation, pointing out that nationalist politics made with reference to personal affinities can be even more exclusionary than ones based on public justifications. On the other hand, however, an acceptance of personal affinities into politics is also a possibility for political movements of other types, not just reactionary conservative nationalism.