Dizionario di Politica

Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: This entry of about 4,000 words defines the term and distinguishes it from other ideologies and political movements. The term refers to those political formulas and movements that appeal to the "people" as a source of inspiration and point of reference. From a populist perspective, the "people" are considered the exclusive holder of specific, positive values. Populism differs from class and multiclass movements and formulas: for populism, the main distinction is between the people and the "not-people." The "not-people" refers to everything standing outside a historically and territorially given people. For this reason, populism differs from socialism, and competes with it as an ideology.
Populism differs from fascism by virtue of the latter's elitism and demand of obedience to the leader. Populism also differs greatly from "traditionalism" or conservatism; while populism privileges traditional values, it does not call for an unchanging, immobile society.
The entry calls populism a global ideology, a synthesis between the traditional cultural values of a society and the necessity of modernization. For this reason, populism cannot be considered a reactionary, anti-industrial movement.
Finally, the entry presents a classification of populist movements, including national-populists (including fascists), revolutionary populists (Stalinists and Castroists), democratic populists (Jacksonian democrats).