The contributors to this volume reflect on the phenomenon and concept of populism in relation to democracy and the humanities from the vantage points of various disciplinary backgrounds: philosophy, history of ideas, media and communication, journalism, political science, gender studies, organization science, education theory, popular culture, and literary studies. While the study of populism seems to have become a subfield within political science, this topic has been rarely explored by scholars in the humanities. Rather than contribute to the already established area of populism studies in social and political sciences, our authors take a more open and exploratory stance through which they attempt to open up new fields and directions for inquiry from an interdisciplinary humanistic perspective.
Struggling with problems of relevance, impact, and visibility, the humanities have a special responsibility to address this topic, not only because it is relevant for their multidisciplinary scope, but also because the humanities stand for the values of thoughtfulness, in-depth reflection, critical thinking, weighty and thorough analysis. The humanities’ very existence constitutes a guaranty against what is often described as populism.
Iulian Cananau is a senior lecturer (associate professor) in American literature at the University of Gävle, Sweden.
Peder Thalén is professor in religious studies at the University of Gävle, Sweden.
Introduction. Populism and the Humanities
Peder Thalén and Iulian Cananau
PART I. Populism and the Democratic Culture
1. Populism: A Bird's-Eye View of the Concept in Political Science
2. The Lost Art of Democratic Debate: Econocracy, Populism, and the Humanities
3. Is Another World Possible? Totalitarian Thinking and Individuality in George Orwell
PART II. Populism and Social Change
4. Educational Desires and ‘Numbers’ as a Salvation Theme: Historicising the Reasoning of Education
5. Alternative Images of the University in an Era of Higher Education as Politicised Social Good
6. Masculinity in the Populist Manichean Mindset
Malena Granhall Lahiki and Sarah Ljungquist
PART III. The New Media and Populist Communication
7. The Digital Communication Logic and Political Populism
8. Populism and the Politics of the Media Spectacle in the US: The Imagery of the US-Mexico Border
PART IV. Populism and the Public Imagination
9. The Case of the Lost Sobriety – Documentaries and Society in Sweden in the Twenty-First Century
10. Fictionalizations of American Populism: From Edward Bellamy’s Utopia to Angie Thomas’s Black Lives Matter Novel
Certainly, populism dominates the global scene these days, and a review of its myriad aspects is timely and necessary. The excellent essays assembled here provide approaches from a number of disciplines and constitute a most welcome review of the issues involved in the overall concept and its history.