Rip It Up and Start Again: The Challenge of Populism in the Twenty-First Century

  • Peter Wilkin brunel university UK
Keywords: Enlightenment principles, Cultural nationalism, Universalism


This essay examines contemporary populist movements along an axis rarely explored in world-systems analysis: as either libertarian or authoritarian social movements. Rather than representing a fundamental break with traditional notions of left and right-wing politics, this article argues that these populist movements are a re-imagining of older political debates, which framed the conflict between the Enlightenment and its opponents—in short, between the search for a universal and just social order—as opposed to a defense of forms of cultural nationalism.

Author Biography

Peter Wilkin, brunel university UK

division of sociology and communication



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How to Cite
Wilkin, P. (2018). Rip It Up and Start Again: The Challenge of Populism in the Twenty-First Century. Journal of World-Systems Research, 24(2), 314-324.
Symposium: Populisms in the World-System