Polarisation, Radicalisation, and Populism

Definitions and Hypotheses


  • Juan Russo Universidad de Guanajuato




Leadership, Polarisation, Populism, Radicalisation, Radical Situation


Since the beginning of this century, politics has been marked by processes of radicalisation, polarisation and the resurgence of populist governments. The emergence of these processes have made both the deficits of political representation and the problems of democratic vulnerability evident. This new situation has translated into the rise of personalist leaders located throughout the right-left ideological spectrum. This has happened on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the new establishment/anti-establishment fracture is more powerful than the right/left one. Similar processes sometimes have different natures. In this article, these processes are defined conceptually, establishing the relationships among them as well as their conceptual particularities. The comparative method is adopted, and the results consist in depicting, first, the differences and similarities between polarisation, radicalisation and populism, second, between contemporary and 1950s populism, and finally, between populism in Europe and in Latin America.

Author Biography

Juan Russo, Universidad de Guanajuato

Juan Russo holds a PhD in Political Science from Universitá di Firenze, Italy. Member SNI III, Conacyt. Full Professor in Comparative Politics, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico. 


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How to Cite

Russo, J. (2021). Polarisation, Radicalisation, and Populism: Definitions and Hypotheses . Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 48, 7–25. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.48.1