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Populism and Progressive Social Movements in Macedonia
Populism and Progressive Social Movements in Macedonia

From Rhetorical Trap to Discursive Asset

Author(s): Ljupcho Petkovski, Dimitar Nikolovski
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Mezinárodní politologický ústav Masarykovy univerzity v Brně
Keywords: Macedonia; populism; social movements; anti-populist rhetorical trap

Summary/Abstract: Since 2009, Macedonia has experienced the two largest waves of progressive civic activism in post-socialist times. In the 2009–2012 period, smaller groups of citizens rallied around issues as different as protection of public spaces, police brutality, rising prices of electricity, etc. Yet, it was not before the larger student mobilizations took place in 2014 that the social space significantly opened up with a number of social groups protesting the increasingly authoritarian rule of the illiberal incumbents. In this paper, we investigate and compare the discursive strategies of the social movements (SM) in the two periods, especially the shift from ‘anti-populist rhetorical trap’ from the first period to the broader appeals for solidarity and a construction of equivalences which characterized the second period. In so doing, we hypothesize and demonstrate that the relative success in the second period can be accounted for in terms of the more inclusive discourse which helped SM avoid the ‘anti-populist trap’, thus challenging illiberal populism with progressive and (formally) populist discourse. Theoretically, the analysis goes back and forth between two approaches to studying populism: the dominant theory which sees populism as democratic illiberalism and Laclau’s theory of hegemony that sees populism as a formal political logic with no predetermined ideological content.

  • Issue Year: XXIII/2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 164-181
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: English