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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Sociological Theories of Populism - JSM579
Title: Sociological Theories of Populism
Czech title: Sociologické teorie populismu
Guaranteed by: Department of Sociology (23-KS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2021
Semester: winter
E-Credits: 8
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: 25 / 25 (25)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Mgr. Tomáš Dvořák, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): Mgr. Tomáš Dvořák, Ph.D.
Class: Courses for incoming students
Last update: Mgr. Tomáš Dvořák, Ph.D. (19.09.2023)
Moodle page for the course:

This course provides an introduction to the main sociological theories of populism. The populist political phenomenon is analyzed from the point of view of the social dynamics of democracy and not only, as is the case with political science, from the point of view of institutional structures. The objective of this course, which is divided into lectures and seminars, is to provide the student with a sociological perspective on the transformations of democracy due to the pressure of populism. It will be analyzed main general theories (Germani, Laclau, Canovan), the contemporary theories of populism (Weyland, Mudde etc.) and also the most paradigmatic cases of populism, such as Latin American, Italian, European, will be discussed.
Course completion requirements
Last update: Mgr. Tomáš Dvořák, Ph.D. (07.09.2022)

Courses credits: 8 ECTS

Type of completion: Exam (Zk) (final essay evaluation & test) 

Assessment methods

Final essay (around 3000 words long) – 70 points max

Final test (last december lecture) - 30 points max

The evaluation criteria will be explained in the first lecture.

Grading system

91 % and more =>          A

81-90 %            =>         B

71-80 %            =>         C

61-70 %            =>         D

51-60 %            =>         E

0-50 %              =>          F (failed)

Last update: doc. PhDr. Zdeněk Uherek, CSc. (06.11.2023)

Arato A., Cohen J. L. 2021. Populism and Civil Society: The Challenge to Constitutional Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carlos de la Torre, Populism and Nationalism in Latin America, Public, 24(3):1-16 · July 2017

Gidron N, Bonikowski B. Varieties of Populism: Literature Review and Research Agenda, in Weatherhead Working Paper Series, No. 13-0004 ; 2013.

Manuel Anselmi, Populism and Quality of Democracy. Italy and Venezuela in Comparative Perspective, Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, Il Mulino, 1/2015, January-April, pp. 35-54.

Manuel Anselmi, Populism. An Introduction. Routledge, 2017

Marco Tarchi (2015) Italy: the promised land of populism?, Contemporary Italian Politics, 7:3, 273-285,

Mazzoleni, G. (2008). Populism and the media. In D. Albertazzi & D. McDonnell (Eds.), Twenty-first century populism: The spectre of Western European democracy (pp. 49– 64). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Paul Blokker (2019). Constitutional Populism, a chapter from Routledge Handbook of Global Populism.

Greven, Thomas (2016) The Rise of Right-wing Populism in Europe and the United States. A Comparative Perspective, working paper.

Last update: Mgr. Tomáš Dvořák, Ph.D. (07.09.2022)

1. Lecture 1: Course introduction

2. Lecture 2: Main theoretical approaches and conceptual frameworks

3. Lecture 3: Latin American populism 

4. Lecture 4: Classical theories of populism: Gino Germani, Torcuato di Tella

5. Lecture 5: Varieties of populism: Theory of Margaret Canovan

6. Lecture 6: The concept of ideology (Freeden)

7. Lecture 7: Populism as ideology I (Cas Mudde)

8. Lecture 8: Populism as ideology II (Paul Taggart)

9. Lecture 9: Populism as Strategy (Kurt Weyland)

10. Lecture 10: Populism as Discourse (Ernesto Laclau)

11. Lecture 11: Populism and technocracy

12. Lecture 12: Test

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