In The Populist Manifesto, seven scholars—Eklundh (politics, Cardiff Univ., UK) and Knott (politics and philosophy, Univ. of Brighton, UK) among them—argue that populism can be defined by its content and form. Most contemporary debate on populism centers on its current content, namely, the right-wing nationalist variant that is attached to an ethnonationalist exclusionary and nostalgic worldview. This notion engenders negative and hostile reactions from the press and academia. But populism can also be regarded as a style of politics. This style, or form, is based on engaging people through passion and emotions, and it stands in contrast to the deliberate, rational approach of mainstream politics. The authors urge progressive forces to adopt a more populist approach to politics, especially in order to solve urgent challenges related to falling wages, capital concentration, deregulation, climate change, and biological extinction. Rejecting the content of right-wing populism, adherents of this version of populism believe that a new approach to politics, one based on engaging the people, will provide a compelling alternative to neoliberal individualism, nationalism, and austerity. This is a thought-provoking book that seeks to deepen the debate on populism by encouraging contemplation of a new brand of politics. Summing Up: Highly recommended, Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers.
A much-needed work for the academic community and, potentially, for a broader public engaged with progressive politics. [...] Overall, the book deserves much, much attention, and, most importantly, thanks to its forceful arguments, it can serve to relaunch a wide debate amongst scholars adopting different approaches to the topic.