This course explores the topical phenomenon of populism from a sociological perspective. It includes, but is not limited to, populism in politics. Topics covered thus include:
1) What is populism? Politics offers the most common definition of populism today: social movements and parties that claim to be 'of the people' and 'against the elite'. But is this sufficient?
2) Intellectual and 'cultural' populism: the celebration of all things 'authentic' and 'direct', most notably in the case of popular music, but often in all forms of popular culture.
3) The problem of 'simulated authenticity': how can anything be authentically 'of the people'. What role do different forms of media, including journalism, play here?
4) The dark side of populism: the scapegoating of those deemed 'enemies of the people' by populist demagogues inside and outside politics.
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:
- recognise some key controversies and debates within the literature on populism;
- identify the basic elements of dispute within a theoretical or methodological perspective;
- display skills associated with scholarly inquiry about populism including those related to critical analysis, argument and written expression; and
- express ideas in writing with conceptual coherence.
Indicative AssessmentCritical Review, 1500 words (40%) Learning Outcomes 1-4
Tutorial Presentation of 10 minutes (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-3
Final Essay, 3000 words (50%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 4
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsLinks to Readings will be provided on the course Wattle site and Library ebrick.
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
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