Assessing varieties of populism: From Europe to Asia

The literature on populism in Europe, the USA, and Latin America has studied populist parties on three dimensions, namely their ideologies, their stance on the economy and organisational characteristics. In this seminar, Dr. Gürsoy re-assesses the literature and examines three cases outside of the frequently analysed regions, namely Turkey, Thailand and India. She argues that the literature’s categorisation of populism is insufficient to explain the Thais Love Thais Party (TRT) and its successors in Thailand, the People’s Party (BJP) in India, and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. These parties are nationalist similar to the extreme right parties in Europe, but they do not make immigration their core issue. They have strong emphasis on neo-liberal economic policies, but unlike ideologically similar Latin American parties, they do not have thin party organisations. Instead, to counterbalance state power and the establishment elite, they socially mobilise their party members and supporters, similar to the classical populists of the 1950s and 1960s in Latin America.