DPI 418: The Rise of Authoritarian Populism

DPI 418: The Rise of Authoritarian Populism


The Rise of Authoritarian Populism

Pippa Norris, McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics
Monday/Wednesday 11:45-1:00, Littauer 280 (HKS)


Professor Pippa Norris

Office: Harvard Kennedy School, Littauer 110

Office hours: Tuesdays 2.00-4.00pm

Phone: (857) 445- 9105 / (617) 495-1475

Email: Pippa_Norris@HKS,harvard.edu

Twitter: @PippaN15 https://twitter.com/PippaN15 

Teaching Fellow: Prof Jose Ignacio Hernandez Gonzalez

Faculty Assistant: Stacy Hannell, L209, Stacy_Hannell@hks.harvard.edu  


Course Description

The rise of authoritarian populist forces in recent years has generated new challenges in many affluent societies and long-established democracies, such as the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Greece, and France, as well as destabilizing states worldwide, such as in Venezuela, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, the Philippines, Thailand, and India.

  • What explains the rise of these forces?
  • What are the consequences?
  • And what can be done to mitigate the risks?

This course analyzes these issues from a comparative perspective, to understand the US and the Trump administration in a broader context. The course covers:

  • The core concept of populism and the classification of authoritarian and libertarian varieties of populist parties and leaders in different world regions;
  • Market model explanations focused on ‘demand-side’ cultural value change, economic grievances, and patterns of immigration, and also ‘supply-side’ electoral rules and party competition;
  • The consequences for the civic culture and the policy agenda; and
  • Alternative strategic policy responses.


Full Syllabus 

syllabus thumbnail.gif



1. Friday, Sept. 7 What is populism? Concepts and measures


2. Monday, Sept. 10 Populism in the US: Trump and Sanders

3. Wednesday, Sept. 12 Populism in Europe

4. Monday, Sept. 17 Populism in the UK: Brexit

5. Wednesday, Sept. 19 Populism in Latin America, Asia and Africa


6. Monday, Sept. 24 Cultural backlash

7. Wednesday, Sept. 26 Cultural backlash

8. Monday, Oct. 1 Economic grievances

9, Wednesday, Oct. 3 Economic grievances

10. Wednesday, Oct. 10 Immigration

11. Monday, Oct. 15 Immigration

12. Wednesday, Oct. 17 Hands-on class workshop


13. Monday, Oct. 22 Electoral systems

14. Wednesday, Oct. 24 Party competition and polarization

15. Monday, Oct. 29 Leadership rhetoric and communication styles

16. Wednesday, Oct. 31 Populists in power

17. Monday, Nov. 5 Hands-on class workshop


18. Wednesday, Nov. 7 Impacts on the civic culture

19. Wednesday, Nov. 14 Backsliding in liberal democratic institutions, press freedom and rule of law

20. Monday, Nov. 19 Mobilizing populist forces and the resistance

21. Monday, Nov. 26  Workgroup report presentations and discussion

22.Wednesday, Nov. 28 Workgroup report presentations and discussion

23. Wednesday, Dec. 3 Conclusion & wrap up


Course Summary:

Date Details
Public Domain This course content is offered under a Public Domain license. Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.