12 September 2022

Call for Papers

Populism and Left Radicalism Specialist Groups, Political Studies Association

Between Successes and Failures?

Assessing the Trajectory of Contemporary left populism


2023 PSA Annual Conference


The downward trajectory of left-wing populism and radicalism at the end of the anti-austerity political cycle in the late 2010s inspired an invigorating discussion. Scholars and activists debated, among other topics, the merits and limitations of populist strategy, the organisational deficits of left populists and their overreliance on elections, as well as the necessity to imagine left politics in power beyond the conventional neoliberal paradigm. This panel seeks to contribute to such debates and overall provide scrutiny of left populism’s successes and failures, potential and deficiencies, opportunities and challenges, within and beyond Europe. Therefore, it invites scholars of left populism and radicalism to discuss related issues including, but not limited to:

  • Left governance: how left populists handle challenges of executive office and what prospects does their relation to power entail for progressive, long-term change.
  • Organisational dynamics of left populist movements and parties, both in respect to the linkage between these two types of actors, between these actors with wider society, as well as the impact of executive office on left populist organisation.
  • Left populism politics in the post-pandemic landscape: Does left populism retain its mobilisation value in the light of the pandemic and its immediate aftermath?
  • Left populism and nationalism: Whether and how left populism incorporates or refutes nationalist sentiment and with what implications for its electoral standing.
  • Delineating left populism: how do we distinguish left populism from social populists? Are there any distinctions between left populists and grassroots movements? Is left populism compatible with vanguardism?
  • Conceptualising success and failure for left populism: How are we frame or even measure the negative and positive contributions of left populism to democracy, the left or beyond?


Those interested should send their abstracts (incl. author(s) name and affiliation(s)) to george.venizelos@sns.it or charalambous.gi@unic.ac.cy, no later than 21 September.