Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Special Issue

Populism from Below in the Balkans

  • Dario Brentin,
  • Tamara Pavasović Trošt
The last several years have witnessed a so-called “political earthquake” of populist successes in consolidated democracies throughout Europe. Populist movements and parties have manifested themselves most markedly through right-wing agendas including opposition to modernization, globalization, regional integration, immigration, appeals to working class fears of social decline, and resentment of elites. Consequently an entire body of literature has examined the basic tenets of populism, populist strategies and rhetoric, determinants of its success, and its effects on people, parties, and polities. Much of the social research on the issue however, both historical and contemporary, has been excessively focused on populism among elites and institutions. By applying a relatively narrow methodological approach, most of the existing literature is leaving the agency of individuals and social groups and their representation largely unproblematized. In this special edition, we thus attempt to draw attention to an issue generally overlooked by researchers: populism from below.