A decade of careful theory has renewed the study of populism. Now a combination of new methods and new technology allows scholars to build on these theoretical advances with collaborative research that is at once comparative, rigorous and empirical. This workshop approaches populism from the bottom up. Instead pursuing yet another definition of populism, it draws from existing definitions to lay out a broad field of attributes associated with populism: programmatic questions of cultural exclusivity, redistribution, anti-globalization and anti-corruption, institutional questions of direct connections between the people and leaders in parliaments and in parties, and stylistic questions of emotion and charisma. Papers will employ valid and reliable indicators to measure the degree to which some or all of these attributes are present in political parties and leaders, uncovering differences in these attributes over time and across borders. On this basis, scholars’ papers and their workshop-related discussions will improve our understanding of populism by exploring the interactions among populism’s various attributes.
The workshop approaches scholarship with an understanding of the potential of new technology. Advances in web-based collaborative networks allow workshop scholars to build a common base of knowledge in ways that would have been difficult to imagine even five years ago. Without abandoning other tried-and-true methods, workshop participants will work together to create an enduring open-source database that aggregates a data and expert opinion on attributes of populism, organized by country, year, political party, using user-editable (wiki) databases and new tools for visualizing data.