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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Arts in Society

Pop and Populism - BENJAMIN MOFFITT (National School of Arts in Melbourne): "Populism, Performance and Popular Culture"

When:Th 14-10-2021 13:00 - 14:00
Pop and Populism poster. On the left is the programme. On the right is a drawing by Eva Vázquez. A black and white image of an ancient roman column lies in shards. Seven people are around it with tools, attempting to clean it up and/or repair it. The bottom of the poster contains information on the organizers.

POPulism: Popular Culture and Populism is an interdisciplinary online lecture series that brings together leading international scholars and practitioners from different disciplinary backgrounds to give insights into the various forms of interactions between populism, the radical right, and popular culture.

Populism builds on a worldview based on the antagonistic opposition of ‘the good people' and the ‘corrupt elite’, and is often connected to ideologies such as nativism, misogyny, authoritarianism, and racism. In their attempt to redefine cultural hegemony, populists make use of cultural strategies; leaders, parties and movements often explicitly draw on popular cultural means to disseminate their ideologies, for instance, by using social media, internet memes, and computer games.

From popular music, performance, and celebrity politics, to normalization, online recruitment, and mobilization, the speakers of POPulism explore the relationship between culture and populism, unpacking how it can both promote and challenge populist and radical right discourses.


Populism is not only about what political leaders say about ‘the people’ and ‘the elite’ – it is also about how they perform and act.

This lecture examines the tropes behind populist performances; considers the way populists use popular culture to appeal to ‘the people’; and considers the role of outrage and ‘bad manners’ in populism. In doing so, it explains why and how such populist performances have such media cut-through at this particular historical moment.

About the speaker

Benjamin Moffitt is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne.

He is the author of Populism (Polity, 2020), Political Meritocracy and Populism: Curse or Cure? (with Mark Chou & Octavia Bryant, Routledge, 2020), and The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation (Stanford University Press, 2016), and the co-editor of Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach (Routledge, 2021). He is currently writing a book about the visual politics of populism.


Registration is required. After registration, you will receive the Zoom link via email.

Register: send an email to popandpopulism