Post-Populism: Transitions from Populist to Personalist Authoritarian Rule

23 August 2023, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Populism is a political strategy in which political leaders directly mobilize support through mass communication, typically posing as the opponents of an entrenched political elite. Although a growing body of research shows that populists draw on their mass support to weaken executive constraints, less attention has been given to what follows this populist turn. Specifically, under what circumstances are populists capable of leveraging their erstwhile mass support into authoritarian rule over the long-term? In contrast to other studies that put the durability of formal and informal democratic institutions to the fore, and unlike most current research on populism, drawing on detailed studies of Vladimir Putin in Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, we explain the personalization of power under populist leadership by examining how such leaders manage other elites; that is, we place the degree, timing, and nature of elite cohort replacement at the center of our argument.




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