Populism is a doctrine that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as hopes and fears) of the general population, especially when contrasting any new collective consciousness push against the prevailing status quo interests of any predominant political sector. Since the 1980s, populist movements and parties have enjoyed degrees of success in First World democracies such as Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic countries... Political parties and politicians often use the terms Populist and populism as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as merely empathizing with the public, (usually through rhetoric or "unrealistic" proposals) in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum (cf. demagogy)... Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell define populism as an ideology that "pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice"... Populists are seen by some politicians as a largely democratic and positive force in society, while a wing of scholarship in political science contends that populist mass movements are irrational and introduce instability into the political process. MargaretCanovan argues that both these polar views are faulty, and has defined two main branches of modern populism worldwide—agrarian and political—and mapped out seven disparate sub-categories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populism
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