In this inaugural edition of the annual Jos de Beus Lecture, Jan-Werner Mueller (Princeton University) addresses an issue that was of particular interest to De Beus: populism.
What is Populism?
The word is omnipresent in political diagnoses of our time. Yet there’s also much confusion around it: how can Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, Podemos and Marine Le Pen, Syriza and Geert Wilders, all be in the same political category? The lecture proposes a theory of populism which identifies the latter as necessarily both anti-elitist and anti-pluralist. It also argues that populists, contrary to a wide-spread view, can govern and that their governing style will show particular characteristics which can best be explained by populism as a distinctly moral world view. The specific examples for understanding ‘populism in practice’ will be Hungary and Turkey.
About the lecturer
Jan-Werner Mueller’s research interests include the history of modern political thought, liberalism and its critics, constitutionalism, religion and politics, and the normative dimensions of European integration.
About the lecture series
The lecture series is organised in honour of the former Chair of Political Thought at the University of Amsterdam, Jos de Beus. De Beus, a much beloved professor who was also passionately engaged in public debate, passed away much too soon in 2013. With the annual Jos de Beus Lecture Series, the Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought (ACPT) wishes to honour his memory. The goal of the lecture series is to bring to Amsterdam renowned international experts to address today’s big questions, including ‘What is the future of democracy?, ‘What would a more just world look like?’ ‘ or ‘What ethical obligations do we have towards migrants?’. In this way, the ACPT aims to keep alive De Beus’ generalist spirit at a time when the academic world becomes ever more specialized.