Facets of Populism and the Threat to Liberal Democracy


Neil De Votta-1Populism is neither ideology nor doctrine. It instead stems from opportunism and is typically rooted in nativism, ethno-nationalism, and majoritarianism. It promotes liberalism can be a precursor to authoritarianism, and is antithetical to pluralism. The populism phenomenon is now trending globally. Indeed politicians in countries that have long undergirded liberal democracy now manipulate xenophobia and islamophobia to take it mainstream. While populism may expand and intensify, populist movements almost never succeed. The lecture will discuss facets of populism, its insidious impact on democracy, and what it could mean for countries once the populist dust has settled.
Neil DeVotta is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. His research interests include South Asian security and politics, ethnicity and nationalism, ethnic conflict resolution, and democratic transition and consolidation. He is the author of Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004). In addition to coauthoring and editing books on Sri Lanka and India, respectively, his publications have appeared in Nations and Nationalism, Journal of Democracy, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, Civil Wars, Journal of International Affairs, and Contemporary South Asia. His current research examines the links between nationalist ideologies and communal violence in South Asia


Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 4:30pm
at the
ICES Auditorium, 2, Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 08