Populism is on the rise around the world. Since 2016, with the US presidential election and the Brexit debate in the UK, populism has taken a central place in global discussions on democracy. This book aims to correct the oversight that, although religion has played a key role in populism in many countries, it has been curiously neglected in recent academic debates.

The authors use case studies from around the world to provide global insights into this issue. The first part of the book focuses on the West, with authors exploring the important role of Anglican voters in the Brexit referendum; rural and pre-millennialist American support for Donald Trump; and the rise of political rhetoric on Muslims in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The book then moves beyond the West to consider leaders and political parties in Turkey, Macedonia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. The authors consider varied populist types, from more established ‘ruling populists’ to young upstart movements.

This wide-ranging volume redefines the concept of populism as a political style that sets a ‘sacred people’ apart from its enemies, providing a timely yet grounded account that will stimulate further research and public debate. It was originally published as a special issue of the journal Religion, State & Society.

chapter 1|9 pages

Introduction – religion and the rise of populism

ByDaniel Nilsson DeHanas, Marat Shterin

chapter 2|20 pages

How religion came into play

‘Muslim’ as a category of practice in immigrant integration debates
ByAstrid Mattes
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chapter 3|18 pages

Religion and Brexit

Populism and the Church of England
ByGreg Smith, Linda Woodhead

chapter 4|19 pages

Thank God for the greatest country on earth

White supremacy, vigilantes, and survivalists in the struggle to define the American nation
BySusannah Crockford

chapter 5|23 pages

The impulse to orthodoxy

Why illiberal democracies treat religious pluralism as a threat
ByDavid Levy

chapter 6|17 pages

The populist breeding ground and religion

The case of the Greek mainstream and Radical Right
ByKonstantinos Papastathis, Anastasia Litina

chapter 7|22 pages

Co-opting religion

How ruling populists in Turkey and Macedonia sacralise the majority
ByBilge Yabanci, Dane Taleski