Populists and the Pandemic edited by Nils Ringe, Director of the Jean Monnet European Union Center of Excellence for Comparative Populism

Populists and the Pandemic: How Populists Around the World Responded to COVID-19 edited by Nils Ringe, a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Jean Monnet European Union Center of Excellence for Comparative Populism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Lucio Renno, a Professor of Political Science at the Universidade de Brasilia, examines the responses of populist political actors and parties in 22 countries around the globe to the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of their attitudes, rhetoric, mobilization repertories, and policy proposals.

The responses of some populist leaders have received much public attention, as they denied the severity of the public health crisis, denigrated experts and data, looked for scapegoats, encouraged protests, questioned the legitimacy of liberal institutions, spread false information, and fueled conspiracies. But how widespread are those particular reactions? how much variation is there? What explains the variation that does exist? This volume considers these questions through critical analysis of countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, by leading experts with deep knowledge of their respective cases. Some chapters focus on populist parties, others on charismatic populist leaders. Some countries examined are democracies, others autocracies. Some populists are left wing, others right wing. Some populists are in government, others in opposition. This variation allows for a panoramic consideration of factors that systemically influence or mediate populist responses to the pandemic.  This book thus makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the intersection between two of the most pressing social and political challenges of our time.

This book will be of interest to all those researching populism, extremism, and political parties, and those more broadly interested in political science, public policy, sociology, communications, and economics.