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Syllabus The Politics of Populism - 54614

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Last update 20-07-2017
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: european studies

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Odelia Oshri

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: 12:30-13:30

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Odelia Oshri

Course/Module description:
Since the 1990s, left-wing and right-wing populist parties have established themselves in the European political map. At the same time, the 2008 financial crisis and the more recent migration crisis have strengthened populist feelings, Euroscepticism, and nationalism. This shift has, in turn, accentuated the cleavage between the open, pro-European, transnational and democratic outlook, on the one hand, and the closed, Eurosceptic, nationalistic and authoritarian position, on the other. A major objective of this course is to describe, discuss, and analyze the phenomenon of right/left-wing radicalization in Europe. Among the questions addressed are the following: Are there common patterns underlying the success of populist parties in Europe? Who votes for these parties? What is the reason for their success in Europe and why are some countries immune to populist ideologies? What is the impact of populist parties on public policies and democratic institutions? What are the relationships between globalization, the crisis of democracy, the economic crisis, and the success of populism?

Course/Module aims:
The course is designed to expose students to recent developments and state-of-the-art literature in the booming field of comparative populism. It seeks to familiarize students with the intricacies of empirically complex and, for this reason, theoretically challenging phenomena, and assess the impact of the latter on European democracies.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
The course provides students with analytical tools for understanding the complex politics of populism; the rationales of the populist voter; the attributes of populism when in power; and its normative implications for contemporary liberal democracy.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: Lecture and class discussion

Course/Module Content:
Part I: Introduction to the course and basic concepts
1. Introduction to the course and objectives
2. What is populism? Definition(s) and general characteristics
Part 2: Populism: Ideas and Institutions
3. Populism in time and space
4. Inside populist parties
Part 3: Demand-Side Explanations
5. Who is the populist voter?
6. The role of the media
Part 4: Supply-Side Explanations
7. Are populist leaders charismatic?
8. Where populism fails to emerge?
Part 5: The populist discourse
9. The 'pure' people versus the 'corrupt' elites
Part 6: The impact of populist parties
10. Populism in office
11. Normative Implications of populism on Democracy
12. The field, so far and future research directions
13. Course summary and work assignments

Required Reading:
For a complete list of readings, please see updated syllabus in moodle

Additional Reading Material:

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 90 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 10 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.