Rethinking populism and its threats and possibilities

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Hogg, R. (2022). Rethinking populism and its threats and possibilities: Ponowne zastanowienie się nad populizmem – jego wyzwaniami i możliwościami. Archiwum Kryminologii, (XLIV/1), 15–38.


Resurgent populism – with crime as a core theme - is depicted as a dangerous perversion of liberal democracy. But by avoiding a definition of populism, critics tend to simply conflate populism with contemporary right-wing authoritarianism. Academic analysis, including criminological, is not free of such tendencies. After a brief consideration of criminology’s engagement with penal populism and the recent spread of a more far-reaching authoritarian political populism, the article argues for the need to more carefully conceptualise populism. Theoretical clarity is needed for assessing the character of contemporary populism; for grasping its drivers in, for example, neo-liberal globalization and what Crouch calls “post democracy”; and for discerning its possible future trajectories, progressive as well as regressive. It is also argued that simple denunciations of populism often reflect a complacent liberal mentality that contributes to political disaffection fuelling populist movements, and overlooks legitimate grievances, including the (often criminal) failings of liberal institutions. Rather than being a political aberration, populism, it is argued, should be seen as a “normal” dimension of democratic politics with implications for criminal policy (as well as politics at large).


Odradzający się populizm – który w dużej mierze odnosi się do przestępczości – przedstawiany jest jako niebezpieczne wypaczenie demokracji liberalnej. Jednak brak zdefiniowania terminu „populizm”, prowadzi do tego, że jego krytycy nierzadko mają tendencję do mylenia go ze współczesnym prawicowym autorytaryzmem. Także analiza naukowa, w tym kryminologiczna, nie jest wolna od takich tendencji. Niniejszy artykuł, po krótkim omówieniu zaangażowania kryminologii w opisanie populizmu penalnego i rozprzestrzenienia się daleko idącego autorytarnego populizmu politycznego, przekonuje o potrzebie dokładniejszej konceptualizacji terminu „populizm”. By ocenić charakter współczesnego populizmu potrzeba bowiem pewnej wiedzy teoretycznej. Jest ona także niezbędna do uchwycenia i zrozumienia neoliberalnej globalizacji czy tego, co Crouch nazywa „postdemokracją”, jak również do zorientowania się co do jej przyszłych możliwych trajektorii – zarówno postępowych, jak i regresywnych. Potępienie populizmu, co zostało podkreślone w artykule, jest często przejawem zadowolonej z siebie liberalnej mentalności, która przyczynia się do politycznego niezadowolenia napędzającego ruchy populistyczne, pomijając przy tym uzasadnione skargi na błędy instytucji liberalnych (często mające charakter przestępczy). Populizm, zamiast być aberracją polityczną, powinien być postrzegany jako „normalny” wymiar demokratycznej polityki, mający implikacje dla polityki kryminalnej (jak również polityki w ogóle).
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