Is Populism a Cause, or a Consequence, of Democratic Backsliding?

June 2022

This conference is closed to the public.

Recent years have witnessed growing interest in populism around the globe and well beyond academic circles. Populist movements, parties, and leaders have gained influence in many countries and regions across the world, disrupted established patterns of party competition, and challenged the legitimacy of democratic institutions (and sometimes actively weakened them). The scholarly literature on the topic has proliferated across a variety of disciplines: from comparative political science to sociology, economics, geography, media and communication studies, anthropology, and psychology.

The conference has three main aims:

(1) To interrogate competing explanations of the causes of populism among scholars from different disciplines and explore how these various perspectives can complement each other, thus advancing our theoretical understanding of populism and opening new methodological pathways for the study of populist politics;

(2) To identify the consequences of populism, whether as a threat or corrective to liberal democracy;

(3) To engage current thinking by identifying effective policy responses and what is known about their impact in different parts of the world.

By fostering this dialogue among experts drawn from a range of disciplines, the seminar explores the causes of the populist surge, its consequences and how they relate to the vulnerabilities of contemporary liberal democracy, and, crucially, to potential policy responses.

Cosponsored by the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Note: This conference was originally scheduled for June 4–5, 2021, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

See also: Conferences, 2022


Simon Hix

Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science.