on November 15, 2022
Published on November 3, 2022 Updated on November 3, 2022

Guest Lecture: Théo Aiolfi

photo Théo Aiolfi
photo Théo Aiolfi

Populism beyond the Far Right: From Anti-Populism to Green Articulations of the Populist Style

Théo Aiolfi is currently Marie Skłodowska-Curie / EUTOPIA-SIF post doctoral fellow at CY Cergy Paris Université, invited by laboratory LT2D.


Over the years, a growing consensus has emerged about the core of populism: its focus on the people standing in opposition with the elite. But while the literature seems to mature, populism remains tainted in the public discourse by its association with demagoguery, amateurism and far-right politics. Building on the critical scholarship on anti-populism, I will demonstrate why these negative connotations are not only intellectually unsatisfying but politically dangerous as they enable the liberal centre to silence any challenge to the status quo by framing them as dangerous and undemocratic.

To move on from this conceptual impasse, I will then explore the way the dialectical tension between content and form illuminates the tired debates on the nature of populism. By contrasting ideological content and populist repertoire while emphasising their interconnection, I will argue that a discursive-performative approach provides the most productive way to disentangle populism from its pejorative connotations. Conceptualising it as an ideologically agnostic way of embodying politics, I then highlight the three core features of populism: its performance of agonism, transgression and crisis.

The final part of this lecture examines the intersection between green politics and populist style. While highlighting the potential pitfalls of the populist repertoire – including notably simplification, polarisation and reliance on a leader – I will discuss the benefits of this frame to understand the way green political actors mobilise conflict, transgression and emotion to perform the climate crisis in a more compelling manner.

Date: 15th November 2022 from 12:30 to 14:00

The hybrid guest lecture is organised in person at the Auditorium of MIR in Neuville-sur-Oise and remotely on Zoom.

To attend the remote guest lecture, please connect to Zoom: https://cyu-fr.zoom.us/j/91654453924

ID meeting: 916 5445 3924

The video will be online on the CY AS YouTube channel