The Pushback Against Populism: Reclaiming the Politics of Emotion

Issue Date April 2020
Volume 31
Issue 2
Page Numbers 41-53
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Formulating effective responses to illiberal populism will be possible only if one understands the reasons for its current popularity. The example of postcommunist Europe may be of great help here. This text grapples with three aspects of illiberal populism’s success in the twenty-first century and tries to offer possible responses. First, liberals have lost the battle for the legacy of 1989. They cannot offer a satisfactory challenge to populism until they create a more convincing, updated narrative about the democratic breakthroughs that took place in Central and Eastern Europe thirty years ago. Emotions should play a vital role here. Second, the populists have so far been better at crafting their vision of the future. Liberals must prepare their own engaging and convincing story about what is to come.

About the Authors

Jarosław Kuisz

Jarosław Kuisz is editor-in-chief of Kultura Liberalna.

View all work by Jarosław Kuisz

Karolina Wigura

Karolina Wigura is a board member at the Kultura Liberalna Foundation and assistant professor in the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw.

View all work by Karolina Wigura