DOI link for Conclusions
This concluding chapter outlines the main theoretical and empirical contributions of the book to the study of populism. It posits that when dealing with a concept as complex as populism, the question of what a concept “is” and how it is defined is inextricable from the question of what a concept “does” and how it is applied within a community of scholars. The conclusion focuses on how the chapters engage and together contribute to advancing discussion of five questions at the very heart of the contemporary debate on populism: the relation of identification between the leader and the people; “the people” as a relational category; populism, anti-populism and antagonism; populism and institutions; and populism and democracy. Contributors to the volume have shown that the critically minded work that takes place under the broad rubric of post-Laclauian populism research is not “too abstract” for empirical analysis, but on the contrary can be particularly relevant in its application to real-life instances of populism. This volume, the authors express, has demonstrated the importance of placing a discursive-performative approach at the center of the study of populism.