Lecture #7 (Final Honorary) – University of Copenhagen

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Why Populism?

By Professor Rogers Brubaker

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Abstract of lecture

It is a commonplace to observe that we have been living through an extraordinary pan-European and trans-Atlantic populist moment.  But do the heterogeneous phenomena lumped under the rubric “populist” in fact belong together?   Or is “populism” just a journalistic cliché and political epithet? I defend the use of “populism” as an analytic category and the characterization of the present as a “populist moment,” and I develop an account of populism as a discursive and stylistic repertoire.  I also seek to explain the clustering in time and space that constitutes the populist moment.  The question in my title is thus deliberately ambiguous. It is on the one hand a question about populism as a term or concept, and on the other hand a question about populism as a phenomenon in the world.  My lecture addresses both the conceptual and the explanatory question.

Introduction of Rogers Brubaker

Rogers Brubaker is Professor of Sociology and UCLA Foundation Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Brubaker has written widely on social theory, immigration, citizenship, nationalism, and ethnicity. His first book explored the idea of rationality in the work of Max Weber, while his essays on Pierre Bourdieu helped introduce Bourdieu to an English-speaking audience. His next two books analyzed European nationalism in historical and comparative perspective.

Brubaker has taught at UCLA since 1991. Before coming to UCLA, he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows of Harvard University (1988-1991). He has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (1994-99), a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (1994-99), and Fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1995-96), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1999-2000), and the Wissenschaftskolleg of Berlin (2016-2017).  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. Brubaker is a Senior Editor of Theory and Society and a member of the Editorial Board of numerous journals.