7 December 2016: Jonathan Hopkin (LSE) on populism and party system change

Leiden University’s Centre for the Study of Political Parties and Representation cordially invites you to attend a public lecture:

Jonathan Hopkin, ‘It’s the people, stupid!’ Populism and Party System Change

  • Date: Wednesday, 7 December 2016
  • Time: 16:00-17:30
  • Venue: Leiden University, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Pieter de la Court building, Room 1.A20 (Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden)

wir-sind-das-volk-375-249Weakening ‘cartel parties’; rising economic inequality

The rise of populist or anti-system parties in recent years, and especially since the financial crisis of the late 2000s, has attracted the attention of a range of scholars from the fields of party politics and international political economy. The former tend to stress the changes to voting behaviour and the strains on ‘cartel parties’, drawing on the extensive scholarship on elections and party organisations. The latter focus on globalization and the political strains generated by new sources of economic instability and the distributional effects of global trade. However there has been little attempt to bring these two perspectives together.

Jonathan Hopkin will draw on both fields to explain the rise of new anti-system political forces. His argument is that both the increasing weakness of cartel parties in western democracies, and the rising inequality and economic distress, combine to create the conditions for an anti-system backlash, but that these two sources of political instability have a common cause: the breakdown of the post-war consensus in western democracies around what John Ruggie called ‘embedded liberalism’.

The cartel party is inextricably tied to the development of a political economy based on the increasing privatization of risk characteristic of globalized market liberalism. The inevitable political response to this dismantling of social protection and increasing subjection of societies to the volatility of global markets takes the form of a backlash against the mainstream political elites of the cartel and a demand for political intervention in the market. Evidence for this thesis is presented from a sample of advanced industrial societies which have experienced varying types of anti-system backlash which, despite their differences, can all be seen as demands for protection from unfettered global markets.

jonathan-hopkin-320x202Jonathan Hopkin

Jonathan Hopkin is associate professor of comparative politics at the Department of Government of the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests are political parties and elections, redistribution and inequality, corruption, the Euro crisis, decentralisation, and politics of Britain, Italy and Spain.

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