Populism in the era of soundbite politics

20-12-2021 from 09:00 to 15:00
Julian Kuttig and Constanze Blum

A Conversation with Journalists and Researchers from Southern and Eastern Africa as well as South and South-East Asia

Populism is a global phenomenon, yet it takes distinct local and regional shapes. Often conceptualized as a discursive style (cf. Laclau 2005), populism has increasingly been analysed through its socio-cultural performative elements (i.e. Ostiguy, Panizza and Moffit 2021). Whilst case studies on populism and socio-cultural performance of populist leaders have expanded over the last years to increasingly include the Global South, systematic comparative approaches of the highly diverse national and regional contexts are still rare. Against the backdrop of a (perceived) global rise of populism but its distinct and varied manifestation in different settings, key questions emerge around the respective roles of intermediaries in the communication flow between populist leaders and the general public. 

In this international workshop, we bring together the perspectives of journalists and researchers from various contexts in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as in South and South-East Asia to discuss the evolution of populist “performances” over the last years, the role of the media and how various actors in the Global South learn from each other. The aim of this event is to create a space for exchange between scholars and practitioners to share their empirical insights into the diverse interplay between populism and the “general public” and how the perceived populist rise has impacted on the media landscape in South Africa, Tanzania, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Moreover, we wish to foster intra- as well as cross-regional comparisons through this format. 

If you would like to participate in this event, kindly register under the following link: 

https://ugent-be.zoom.us/j/96712942593?pwd=b2NWVXp6QWdHUlhrbVBySkZuem1PUT09 by Friday, 17 December 2021 at 6 p.m. CET. Kindly note that registration is a precondition for participation and that the workshop takes place under Chatham House Rules. 


9h00 – 9h30 Welcome and introduction of participants 

9h30 – 11h00

Panel 1: Populism, National Liberation Movements in power and ParliamentaryOpposition in South Africa and Tanzania

Carien du Plessis, Daily Maverick 

Tasneem Essop, Society, Work and Politics Institute (University of the Witwatersrand)

Erick Kabendera, independent journalist

Chambi Chachage, Carleton University 

Moderation: Constanze Blum, Leipzig University

11h00 – 12h00 Lunch break

12h00 – 13h30

Panel 2 Transnational linkages and learning between different political systems(Bangladesh and Philippines)

Mubashar Hasan, HADRI (Western Sydney University)

Arild Engelsen Ruud, Oslo University

Malou Mangahas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (tbc)

Aries Arugay, University of the Philippines Diliman

Moderation: Julian Kuttig, Ghent University

13h30 – 13h45 Coffee break

13h45 – 14h45

Final discussion: Transregional comparisons and the pendulum question: does populism lead to more or less democracy?

14h45 – 15h00 Farewell

For any questions regarding the event, please contact Constanze Blum (constanze.blum@uni-leipzig.de) or Julian Kuttig (julian.kuttig@ugent.be)

The workshop is organized by the Research Institute Social Cohesion at Universität Leipzig, in collaboration with the Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University, and with the support of the Global Minds fund supported by Vlir-UoS.

Register online