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

Peter Wilkin


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.


Enlightenment principles, Cultural nationalism, Universalism

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