Intellectuals in Pursuit of Populism: A Historical Perspective

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Patrick BAERT, Cambridge University, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Marcus MORGAN, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
In this paper we present a historical perspective on the relationship between intellectuals and what is current referred to as ‘populism’, arguing that the current political developments have a long pedigree. We focus in particular on the interbellum and how, in the context of the trauma of WWI, various writers in France and Germany expressed reservations about liberal democracy, deplored its alleged degeneracy, accused the establishment or of conspiring against ‘ordinary’ people, and advocated a more direct relationship between leadership and the ‘masses’. We explore the similarities and differences with the current wave of ‘populism’ that has engulfed various countries.