Cover: Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy, from Harvard University PressCover: Me the People in HARDCOVER

Me the People

How Populism Transforms Democracy

Product Details


$49.00 • £42.95 • €44.95

ISBN 9780674240889

Publication Date: 08/06/2019


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Urbinati has produced an exceptional scholarly work on a highly relevant socio-political phenomenon. Her line of argument is necessarily complex and deep. Her research is outstandingly extensive.—Deepak Tripathi, New York Journal of Books

Urbinati’s book is the grand historical-theoretical narrative not only of populism but of democracy and democratic theory more broadly… Her account provides an overview of democratic formations and their different conceptualizations over time, with populism being one among them… Accepting a main position of hers that populism is an expression of legitimate complaints and demands for change within representative democracy, one only wishes that the people making these demands were more savory and less corrupt than they are.—Hans J. Rindisbacher, The European Legacy

With considerable debate around the concept of populism, and its intersections with democracy and authoritarianism, this book provides an important contribution to advance understanding of how populism is transforming contemporary democracies.—Sarah Cameron, European Political Science

Me the People arguably ranks as the best available analysis of populism in any language. Nadia Urbinati persuasively interprets populism as an autoimmune disease of democracy; as a new form of disfigured representative government gripped by leaders who pose as the embodiment of a ‘true’ people—enthusiastic but loyal subjects who have little or no taste for free media, independent courts, and other ‘intermediary’ power-restraining institutions. Urbinati’s message is timely and disturbing.—John Keane, author of The Life and Death of Democracy

The study of populism has become all too fashionable, but this volume stands out for its great originality. Unlike so many scholars jumping on the populism bandwagon, Nadia Urbinati has a well-developed theory of democracy, which she deftly deploys to pinpoint the dangers of populism. She also draws on her profound knowledge in the history of political thought to advance her arguments.—Jan-Werner Müller, author of What Is Populism?

With her erudition and clear-eyed assessment of the decline of parties and partisanship, Nadia Urbinati delivers a bold theory of how populist democracy works today. As populism goes from political movement to holding power, the familiar elements—the leader who embodies the people, the hostility to pluralism, the repudiation of mediating institutions—come together in a new and unaccountable form of governing. Me the People prepares us for the challenge.—Nancy Rosenblum, author of A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy

In an increasingly crowded field, Nadia Urbinati develops a novel and sophisticated theory of the phenomenology of populism. She engages with the populist critique of what went wrong with democracy and shows how populist solutions, instead of leading to radical democracy, will lead to its disfigurement.—Carlos de la Torre, editor of The Promise and Perils of Populism

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