Special Issue "Genealogy of Populism: Concepts, Ideas and Movements"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Damiano Palano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Sciences, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, 20123 Milan, Italy
Interests: populism; democratic theory; crowd psychology; history of social and political sciences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The word "populism" has enjoyed enormous success in the last two decades, and studies on populist movements and leaders have multiplied in the social sciences at an impressive rate. In spite of the term's success, there is no shared conception among scholars of "what" populism is, nor is there a common idea of what its constituent elements are. The difficulties in defining populism also arise from the genealogy of this concept and from the ways in which it was constructed in the last century. The roots of contemporary polysemy of the word are indeed the legacy of a rather complex historical course. Quite singularly, however, many scholars of populism seem unaware of this genealogy. Critical reflection on the genealogy of the contemporary concept of populism has not been adequately developed by specialized literature, and this absence contributes to consolidating an acritical use of the concept.

This Special Issue of Genealogy intends to contribute to “mapping” the genealogies of the concept of populism and of those elements—stylistic, ideological, organizational—that we can recognize in contemporary populism.

This Special Issue also invites papers that contribute to enriching research on the genealogy of populism, in relation both to the construction and re-elaboration of the concept as well as to the rhetorical, ideological and organizational tools that characterize contemporary populist movements.

In particular, this Special Issue invites papers focused on the following points:

  • The genealogy of the word "populism", with particular regard to the birth of the term in the United States of the nineteenth century;
  • The genealogy of "populism" in Russia, from the origins of the "Narodnichestvo" to the contemporary "populizm";
  • The use of the notion of "populism" in the social sciences of the twentieth century;
  • The meaning of the word "populism" in Latin America, from the 1950s to the present day (with reference also to economic policy programs);
  • The meaning of the word "populism" in Europe, from the beginning of the twentieth century until today;
  • The genealogy of the theories of "populism" (in particular in relation to the theories of Antonio Gramsci, Gino Germani, Margaret Canovan and Ernesto Laclau);
  • The connection between twentieth-century and contemporary populism and classical phenomena such as "demagogy", "oclocracy", "caesarism" and "boulangism";
  • The connection between the contemporary critique of populism and the classic images that depict the masses, the mob or the people as emotional, irrational, violent, etc.;
  • The connection between the contemporary concept of “populism” and classical theories on “totalitarianism” and “totalitarian democracy”;
  • The ideological and organizational links between the different generations of "populist" movements and leaders (especially in the USA, Europe and Latin America, but also in other examples of the “global populism”).

Prof. Dr. Damiano Palano
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • populism
  • anti-populism
  • anti-partitism
  • people
  • crowd
  • mass
  • demagogy

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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