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Myriam Brito

Subject Politics
Sociology » Government, Politics, and Law

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


In general terms, the concept of populism aims to describe sociopolitical movements, forms of government, political regimes, and/or ideological formulae that focus around the idea of the people , understood as a “virtuous” social ensemble that carries values that are considered to be “superior.” Populism is also characterized by the action of charismatic leaders, the use of a rhetoric discourse, a particular relationship between the leaders and the social groups that give them support, and different types of social mobilizations. Populism is nevertheless a problematic concept for both political science and political sociology since this notion has been used and is still used to describe a multiplicity of phenomena that have important differences. The word populism was initially used to refer to the movement of intellectuals organized in Russia toward the end of the nineteenth century. This movement proposed the establishment of a new society based on the model of Russian peasant communities (the mir ). It was an anti-tsarist and anti-capitalist movement that idealized the values and traditions of the people projected onto the peasants of those days. On the other hand, this notion of populism was also applied to the movement of farmers and small independent producers organized in the Central West of the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Those participating ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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