political science 4250
3 May 2006
cote d'ivoire: setting the stage for populism
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From our thorough class discussion, the readings of John Lukacs, Richard Gott, and statements [such as] the ones above, I have chosen to construct a more exact definition for populism. By no means are the ideas exclusively my own. Conversely, I have used the inspiration from several different sources to format a definition of populism that reads as follows:
A populist leader is a person who is put in power or tries to achieve power and status through support of the public. They "galvanize the public" by evoking three predominant themes: nationalism, charisma, and environmental/contextual events, to their advantage.
Some techniques used to exploit the themes of nationalism, charisma, and environmental/contextual events include but are not limited to:
1. The creation of an "Us versus Them"
2. Instilling fear and/or anger in the public.
3. Specific usage of signifiers such as speech, dialect, or clothing to relate to a group.
4. The creation of "one" or belonging among the public.
5. Focus on unstable and/or historical conditions.
6. Reliance on media (i.e. media, television, radio, newspapers, internet).
Populists do not need to have majority support and are not limited to the political field. However, to be a populist, it is necessary that the person is hugely popular and admired by a substantial portion or a group of people.
A visual representation of this populism definition is provided on the following page . . .