Mittwoch, 27. November 2013, 18:00 - 20:00 iCal

We the People

On Populism and Democracy

Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen
Spittelauer Lände 3, 1090 Wien

Antrittsvorlesung, Public Lecture

Weitere Termine

Montag, 25. November 2013, 18:00 - 20:00

Dienstag, 26. November 2013, 18:00 - 20:00


What is Populism?

“Populism” has become one of the most wide-spread terms of political analysis, especially in Europe. At the same time, historians, political theorists, and social scientists deeply disagree about the meaning of the concept, with some claiming that there is no such a thing at all, and some dismissing the label “populism” as an attempt to silence all criticisms of really existing liberal democracies. The first lecture will sketch a theory what populism is, as well as an account of how and why populist movements rise and fall.


Intrusions of the People: Ideals of Popular Sovereignty in History

This lecture will examine how Europeans in particular have imagined people-making: what constitutes a people, how a people can act in history, and what it takes to preserve regimes that claim to instantiate popular rule. A long story of how continental Europeans became disenchanted with ideals of popular sovereignty will emerge – a development which in many ways has left Europe’s democracies more vulnerable to populist attacks. This story will also be explicitly tied to the European Union.


Real Problems – and How to Respond to Them

Populism is not just some form of political pathology. It also points at real problems, both in how democracy is justified as an ideal and in how actually existing democracies conduct themselves. For instance: what legitimately constitutes the boundaries of the “people”? The last lecture will try to make some headway in addressing these problems. The series as a whole will finish with some thoughts on how best to respond to populists politically, culturally, and, sometimes, legally, and also ask whether it is possible to distinguish populists on the one hand from demagogues and democratic activists on the other.

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen


Saskia Hnojsky
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen
Public Relations
01- 313 58- 207