Nationalism and the Political Theology of Populism

Challenging the National Identity Argument

Roundtable with Ulf Hedetoft.

Discussant: Catharina Raudvere.

Populism should be approached as a variant of nationalism. It shares with mainstream nationalism the insistence on the pivotal role of ‘the people’, on the centrality of cultural and historical homogeneity, and on the division between ‘us’ as laudable and ‘them’ as potentially threatening. And nearly all its manifestations are based on or devoted to some form of political theology. They represent specific instances of affective nationalism as civil religion. I will reflect on the nationalism-populism link, on the relationship between populism and democracy, on the theological question, and on three concrete manifestations: the East European, the North European, and the American.


Talk: max 40 minutes
Discussant: 10-15 minutes
Break: 5 minutes
Debate: app. 30 minutes