Populism and Publicity: The Participant Perspective

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


It is common to ask whether populism is a threat or a corrective to democracy. In the empirical literature, the conclusion tends to be that it is both. Some normative accounts, most notably those of Laclau and Mouffe, promote populism because of its alleged ability to deepen and recover democracy. Both of these strands of the literature are inhibited by an observer perspective, which means that they evaluate populism as a phenomenon that affects democracy from the outside rather than as an alternative set of ideas about democracy. This paper proposes an alternative approach to populism, which uses the publicity condition first suggested by Kant and later expounded by Rawls. The publicity condition entails taking a participant perspective, where you regard yourself as involved with plural others in a common enterprise of deliberation, choice, and action. While the observer considers the causes and effects of different doctrines in order to explain, manipulate and/or exploit political practice, the participant asks whether we could make a doctrine our own, as something we would want to promote for others and ourselves, as well as use to assess the health of our democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Sep 2019
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
EventAmerican Political Science Association Annual Meeting - Washington DC, United States
Duration: 29 Aug 20191 Sep 2019


ConferenceAmerican Political Science Association Annual Meeting
CountryUnited States
CityWashington DC

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk

No data available

ID: 227536448