The void centre of the contemporary populism: the antinomical constitution of the populist leader

Publication date:
Michael Hauser

Taking as reference points the populisms of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, this paper analyses the common inconsistencies in contemporary populist ideologies and strategies. It is argued that contemporary populism is linked to the “multitudinal social being”, defined here as the conjunction of two antinomical tendencies: neoliberal atomisation and a tendency towards communality. The multitudinal communities and their interrelations reveal inconsistencies and cleavages. The thesis posed by the article is that a populist leader reflects the inconsistencies and cleavages of the multitudinal communities and does not, therefore, create a coherent doctrine with a central idea. The populist leader is a protean Leviathan bringing inconsistent and decentralised doctrine forth from his or her stabilised place as a point of impossible unification.

Keywords: populism, neoliberalism, fragmentation,multitude, Trump, Putin


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