The psychology of populism : the tribal challenge to liberal democracy


The psychology of populism : the tribal challenge to liberal democracy

edited by Joseph P. Forgas, William D. Crano, and Klaus Fiedler

(The Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology series, 22)

Routledge, 2021

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



The recent rise of populist politics represent a major challenge for liberal democracies. This important book explores the psychological reasons for the rise of populism, featuring contributions from leading international researchers in the fields of psychology and political science. Unlike liberal democracy based on the Enlightenment values of individual freedom, autonomy and rationality, both right-wing and left-wing populism offer collectivist, autocratic formulations reminiscent of the evolutionary history and tribal instincts of our species. The book offers a comprehensive overview of the psychology of populism, covering such phenomena as identity seeking, anger and fear, collective narcissism, grievance, norms, perceptions of powerlessness and deprivation, authoritarianism, nationalism, radicalism, propaganda and persuasion, ethnocentrism, xenophobia and the effects of globalization. The book is divided into four parts. Part I deals with the motivational and emotional factors that attract voters to populist causes, and the human needs and values that populist movements satisfy. Part II analyzes the cognitive features of populist appeals, especially their emphasis on simplicity, epistemic certainty and moral absolutism. Part III turns to one of the defining features of populism: its offer of a powerful tribal identity and collectivist ideology that provide meaning and personal significance to its followers. Finally, in Part IV, the propaganda tactics used by populist movements are analysed, including the role of charismatic leadership, authoritarianism, and nationalism and the use of conspiracy narratives and persuasive strategies. This is fascinating reading on a highly topical issue. The book will be of interest to students, researchers, and applied professionals in all areas of psychology and the social sciences as a textbook or reference book, and to anyone interested in the global rise of populism. Please follow this link for an insightful interview by one of the editors of the book - Joseph P. Forgas: We have also created a short promotional video for the book here -


Preface by Joseph P. Forgas, William D. Crano and Klaus Fiedler Chapter 1. The Psychology of Populism: The Tribal Threat to Liberal Democracy. Joseph P. Forgas, University of New South Wales, William Crano, Claremont Graduate University and Klaus Fiedler, University of Heidelberg PART 1. WHAT POPULISTS WANT: MOTIVATIONAL AND EMOTIONAL FACTORS IN POPULISM Chapter 2. Populism and the Social Psychology of Grievance. Peter H. Ditto and Cristian G. Rodriguez, University of California, Irvine. Chapter 3. Socio-psychological Analysis of the Deterioration of Democracy and the Rise of Authoritarianism: The Role of Needs, Values, and Context. Daniel Bar-Tal and Tamir Magal, Tel Aviv University, Israel Chapter 4. Beyond Populism: The Psychology of Status-Seeking and Extreme Political Discontent. Michael Bang Petersen, Mathias Osmundsen & Alexander Bor, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University Chapter 5. The Rise of Populism: The Politics of Justice, Anger, and Grievance. George E. Marcus, Williams College Chapter 6. Collective Narcissism and the Motivational Underpinnings of the Populist Backlash. Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, Dorottya Lantos and Oliver Keenan Goldsmiths, University of London PART 2. THE POPULIST MIND: COGNITIVE ASPECTS OF POPULISM Chapter 7. Psychological Perversities and Populism. Joachim I. Krueger, Brown University, USA and David J. Gruning, University of Mannheim, Germany Chapter 8. Overconfidence in Radical Politics. Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Chapter 9. Why Populism Attracts: On the Allure of Certainty and Dignity. Arie W. Kruglanski, Erica Molinario, university of Maryland, and Gilda Sensales, Sapienza University of Rome. Chapter 10. A Non-Populist Perspective on Populism in Psychological Science. Klaus Fiedler, Heidelberg University. PART 3. THE TRIBAL CALL: SOCIAL IDENTITY AND POPULISM Chapter 11. Self-Uncertainty and Populism: Why we Endorse Populist Ideologies, Identify with Populist Groups, and Support Populist Leaders Michael A. Hogg, Claremont Graduate University, Aarhus University, and Oluf Gotzsche-Astrup, Aarhus university, Denmak. Chapter 12. When Populism Triumphs: From Democracy to Autocracy. Joseph P. Forgas, University of New South Wales, Sydney and Dorottya Lantos, Goldsmiths, University of London Chapter 13. Populism in Power: The tribal Challenge. Peter Kreko, Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest, and Johns Hopkins University, USA. Chapter 14. The Rise of Populism in the USA: Nationalism, Race, and American Party Politics Leonie Huddy and Alessandro Del Ponte, Stoney Brook University, USA Chapter 15. Threat, Tightness, and the Evolutionary Appeal of Populist Leaders. Michele J. Gelfand and Rebecca Lorente, University of Maryland, College Park, USA. PART 4. POPULIST NARRATIVES AND PROPAGANDA Chapter 16. Social Psychological Contributions to the Study of Populism: Minority Influence and Leadership Processes in the Rise and Fall of Populist Movements William D. Crano, Claremont Graduate University and Amber M. Gaffney, Humboldt State University Chapter 17. Value Framing and Support for Populist Propaganda. Joel Cooper and Joseph Avery, Princeton University Chapter 18. Rapid social change and the emergence of populism. Robin R. Vallacher and Eli Fennell, Florida Atlantic University Chapter 19. Authoritarianism, Education, and Support for Right-Wing Populism. Stanley Feldman, Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University

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