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My research is primarily concerned with the dynamics of economic and political crisis that have fundamentally transformed the social lives of many individuals over the past few decades. My dissertation addresses the most recent, if not entirely novel, expression of crisis politics: populism. Another line of research digs further into the economic dimension of crisis politics, exploring social movements and policy-making in hard times.
Political Sociology, Comparative Politics/Political Economy, Theory
David Strang (Chair), Richard Swedberg, Ben Cornwell, Peter Enns (Government)
The Social Origins and Consequences of Populism
My dissertation research investigates the social dynamics of populism. It comprises three main sections. The first section examines the social origins of populism, seeking to detect the key social factors that aroused the remarkable growth of populist parties across the world in recent years. Drawing on an up-to-date harmonized dataset of European populist parties, I analyze changing vote shares of populist parties in parliamentary elections in 27 European countries from 2013 to 2019. This study makes an important theoretical contribution to the populism literature by decomposing populist parties into three mutually exclusive groups (far-right, far-left, non-radical) and unravelling the heterogeneous sources that drove the growth of each populist group. Building on the first section, the second section develops the theory of varieties of populist mobilization. I devote particular attention to how the populist ideology appeals to less radicalized or non-partisan groups. The final section discusses the consequence of populism for democracy. This section attempts to reorient the existing literature, which focuses heavily on the dismantling of governing institutions, to social disintegration, which foreshadows an even deeper crisis of democratic organization of our society.