GV320      Half Unit

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Francisco Panizza


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is not available to General Course students.

This course is capped at one group. The deadline for enrolments is 12:00 noon on Friday 4 October 2019.

Course content

The course aims at bringing together the conceptual analysis of populism with comparative case studies in different regions of the world. It studies populism from a conceptual, theoretical and comparative perspective. Given the highly contested nature of populism, the first weeks will look in depth to different theories of populism, including institutional, ideological, discursive and socio-cultural understandings of populism. It will then move to explore the conditions of emergence of populism and the relations between populism and key political concepts, such as democracy and political participation. The second half of the course will seek to apply the conceptual tools presented in the first half of the course to regional case studies.

Among the topics to be explored are: What is populism? Populism as a "thin ideology". Populism as a mode of identification. The socio-cultural dimensions of populism. The conditions of emergence of populism.  Populism, democracy and political participation. Populism in Europe. Populism in the USA. Populism in Latin America.


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.

Week 6 will be reading week.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Formative coursework:

One essay to be submitted on week 7 of the LT. The formative essay will offer an outline of the final essay- including key indicative  reading. The feedback will be used in two ways: 1) to guide students' critical thinking in line with course learning outcomes; 2) to guide students on the key aspect of formatting an academic argument using literature and critical debate. Students will also be encouraged to reflect upon their learning from the presentation and use this to refine their summative essay.

Indicative reading

Essential Readings

Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggat, Pierre Ostiguy and Paulina Ochoa- Espejo (eds). Oxford Handbook on Populism. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2017.

Benjamin Moffit, The Global Rise of Populism. Performance, Political Style and Representation. Stamford Ca: Stamford University Press 2016.

Francisco Panizza (Ed) Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso 1995.

Additional Readings.

Carlos de la Torre and Cynthia J. Arnson (eds.) Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2013.

Michael Kazin. The Populist Persuasion. An American History. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998

Benjamin Moffitt.  The Global Rise of Populism.  Performance, Political Style and Representation. Stamford Ca.: Stamford University Press, 2016.

Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser (eds.) Populism in Europe and the Americas. Threat or Corrective to Democracy?  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Cass Mudde and Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser. Populism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press 2017.

Jan-Werner Müller. What is Populism?  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.


Presentation (10%) in the LT.
Essay (90%, 3500 words) in the ST.

The essay will be marked in line with departmental guidance on assessed essays. This will allow for a scale of outcomes in line with different levels of academic outputs. It will be marked for  command of the literature,  theories and empirical findings, analytical sophistication,  use of evidence, critical judgement and originality. The individual class presentations will take the form of a 15 minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of questioning from both the class and the teacher. Particular value will be placed on the ability to present contending arguments in a clear and balanced way, the use of empirical evidence to support arguments and the capacity to raise relevant questions for class discussion.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: 18

Average class size 2018/19: 18

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills