Northwestern Events Calendar


Organizing the People: Populism, Exit, and Loyalty in Latin America

When: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: 1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 1-200, Evanston, IL 60201 map it

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


EDGS Graduate Student Lecture Series

Rodrigo Barrenechea

PhD Candidate, Political Science

Why do some populist leaders plant the seed of new enduring political parties while others do not?

The literature on party formation has highlighted the importance that grassroots organizations have had in producing lasting political parties in Latin America. Whereas new political parties emerge every electoral cycle in a polity, those who show strong, organized roots in society tend to endure their founders' passing. Episodes of populist electoral irruption in which anti-establishment candidates win office are typically inscribed within periods of polarization, intense mobilization, and fluidity of political identities. This makes them ideal moments for promoting populist supporters' engagement in grassroots organizations. However, only some successful populist leaders have used their power to foster societal organizations and hence pave the way for party formation. Using the case of two left-wing populist parties in Latin America, I argue that populist leaders invest in creating grassroots organizations whenever they are in need of infusing their base with loyalty, amid decreasing levels of support and incapacity to deliver on their promises of rescuing their countries from the failures of established parties.

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