Populism is best understood as a Manichaean world view linked to a characteristic language or discourse. Chavismo, the movement that sustains Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, is a paradigmatic instance of populism. Using a novel, cross-country dataset on populist discourse, combined with extensive data from within Venezuela and across other countries, this book demonstrates that populist movements can be understood as responses to widespread corruption and economic crisis. The book analyzes the Bolivarian Circles and government missions in Venezuela, revealing how populist ideas influence political organization and policy. The analysis provides important insight into the nature of populism, including its causes and consequences, and addresses broader questions about the role of ideas in politics.
Kirk A. Hawkins is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. He is a co-author of Latin American Party Systems (Cambridge University Press). His work on political parties and populist movements has been published in several book chapters and journals, including Comparative Political Studies, Latin American Research Review, and Third World Quarterly.
1. Introduction; 2. Chavismo, populism, and democracy; 3. Measuring the populist discourse of Chavismo; 4. Party system breakdown and the rise of Chavismo; 5. The causes of populism in comparative perspective; 6. Populist organization: the Bolivarian circles in Venezuela; 7. Populist policy: the missions of the Chavez government; 8. Conclusion; Appendix A: the populist speech rubric; Appendix B: test of the sampling technique; Appendix C: test of interaction effects.