Public Programs And Events

"Fascism and Populism: Are They Useful Categories for Comparative Sociological Analysis?" with Mabel Berezin

"Fascism and Populism: Are They Useful Categories for Comparative Sociological Analysis?" with Mabel Berezin

Bob and Sheila Hoerle Lecture Hall, Room UL105, University Center
General Public 

This lecture will draw upon interdisciplinary scholarship and empirical cases to revisit the terms fascism and populism. Institutionalized politics is its focus. Contemporary fascist and populist politics is increasingly global. This talk argues that comparative political and historical sociologists need to develop an analytically cogent approach to researching this encroaching political phenomenon. The talk suggests a research agenda that treats fascism and populism as more than conceptual categories.

Political developments in the United States and Europe have generated a resurgence in the use of the terms fascism and populism across multiple media. Fascism is a historically specific term that Benito Mussolini coined in Italy to define his regime. Over time, political analysts erased the historical specificity of fascism and deployed it as an analytic category. In contrast, populism is an analytic category that depending on context, includes varying aggregates of popular preferences that often lack a coherent and unifying ideology. 

Mabel Berezin is Professor of Sociology at Cornell who writes on challenges to democratic cohesion and solidarity in Europe and the United States. She is the author of Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Culture, Security, and Populism in the New Europe (Cambridge 2009) and Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Inter-war Italy (Cornell 1997). She is working on a book length manuscript on the resurgence of extreme nationalism in contemporary Europe.

Presented by the Department of Sociology at the New School for Social Research

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