• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Sociology, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Paul K Jones
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

Populism is a topical issue but is also one with a long history of sociological investigation. This course will examine populism as a phenomenon that is not confined to politics and which now exists in cultural and mediated forms. Populism, like some forms of contemporary music, celebrates 'authenticity' and 'directness'. But this authenticity, it seems, can be simulated and the sense of directness today is often, in fact, mediated. A central theme of the course will be the relationship between intellectuals and populist movements, whether understood as 'progressive' social movements that intellectuals might support or movements that condemn intellectuals as the embodiment of 'inauthentic' elites. Topics covered thus include the perils of cultural populism, the role of demagogues in populist movements of left and right, the normalisation of populist insurgencies and the interaction between journalism and populist developments. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Recognise some key controversies and debates within the literature on populism.
  2. Identify the basic elements of dispute within a theoretical or methodological perspective.
  3. Display skills associated with scholarly inquiry about populism including those related to critical analysis, argument and written expression
  4. Express ideas in writing with conceptual coherence.

Indicative Assessment

Critical Review, 1500 words (40%) LO 1,2,3
Tutorial Presentation of 10 minutes (10%) LO 1,2,3
Final Essay, 3000 words (50%) LO 1,2

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level Sociology (SOCY), Criminology (CRIM) or Political Science (POLS) courses; or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Links to Readings will be provided on the course Wattle site and Library ebrick.

Preliminary Reading

Berezin M. (2009) Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bartlett J, Birdwell J and Littler M. (2012) The new face of digital populism: Demos.
Eco,U. (2007) Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism. Orlando: Harvest/Harcourt: 128-156.
Frith, S. (1991) ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent: Defending Popular Culture from the Populists’, Diacritics, 21:4 (Winter): 102 -115.
Worsley,P. (1969) ‘The Concept of Populism’.  In G. Ionescu and E. Gellner (eds.), Populism: Its Meaning and National Characteristics. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson: 212-250




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $2856
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9617 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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