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Race and Populism. A Comparative Study of Thatcherism, Peronism and the American Populists

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Carreira da Silva, Filipe Miguel 
Brito Vieira, Monica 


This article re-examines the race-populism nexus. It asks: Does populist political construction of the figure of 'the people' necessarily involve processes of racial othering? We answer this question by revisiting three emblematic cases of populism. Each historical case illustrates a basic type of identity formation that can have an i) exclusionary, ii) ambivalent or iii) positive impact on racial justice. The first case is Thatcherism, whose 'authoritarian populism' feeds on and reinforces anti-Black racial prejudice. The second is Peronism, which has an ambivalent relationship with race that promises to shed important new light on this classic case of populism. The third case is that of the American Populists, whose pioneering experiments in interracial politics remain an enduring illustration of populism's progressive potential. In each case, we focus on a key document from that political regime/movement: the Conservative Manifesto of 1979, the Peronist Constitution of 1949, and the Omaha Platform of 1892. The article concludes that populism, as a logic of action, acts as a catalyst that intensifies whatever specific content is mobilised - racist and anti-racist content alike.



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Archives Européennes de Sociologie

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Cambridge University Press

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“Race Trouble. Decolonizing race and racial inequality in postcolonial Portugal” (2022.04225.PTDC) exploratory research project, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education