The rise of populist movements — particularly in Western countries that are supposed to embody the democratic ideal — and, indeed, the accession to power of some of their leaders, are rightly prompting serious concern and much soul-searching. How are we to explain this phenomenon? What features are shared by these movements and, conversely, what constitutes their special nature in the various countries? This is the first theme that has been chosen to give substance to the cooperation agreement established, on the initiative of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem between Ipsos, of which she is general director with responsibility for “International Research and Social Innovation”, and Futuribles.
This article by Henri Wallard, which draws on surveys and studies carried out by the Ipsos institute, begins by reminding us what the term populism covers. He then shows that, though populisms have common features and base their action on certain preferred themes, they are nonetheless very diverse and have to be analysed with an eye to the history, culture and socio-economic and political context of each country. This is borne out, Wallard argues, by the cases analysed here — the USA, Italy and the UK.
“There is no rise of populism,” writes Wallard, “but rather an emergence of different individual populist movements.” This is not, however, a reason to underestimate the danger they represent.
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