The rise of populism and development cooperation 
Ivica Petrikova (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Melita Lazell (University of Portsmouth)
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Challenging Authoritarianism
Jenny Lee, Meeting Room 1
Wednesday 19 June, 15:30-17:00, 17:30-19:00 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

This panel explores the relationship between the recent increases in political populism in the world and development in the Global South - ranging from the depiction of developing countries through attitude towards development cooperation to actual provision of development aid.

Long Abstract

The rise of populism, mostly of the right-leaning kind, has recently affected political scenes in the United States, United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, and Italy amongst other countries and has been described as the most important political development in Europe and Northern America in the 21st century (Galston, 2018). Populism's rise has not been confined to the Global North either, with populist politicians wielding power in a wide range of non-Western countries, including Turkey, India, and most recently Brazil.

What does this political trend mean for international development cooperation? Populism has been defined as a 'thin ideology' (Friedman, 2017) in that it can attach itself to a spectrum of different political agendas but is distinguished by its division of society into an 'in-group', i.e. the people supporting the populist leader, and 'out-group', essentially everyone else but primarily immigrants, refugees, and minorities. The provision of development aid is in theory guided by the belief that every life has equal value (Gauri, 2017) and thus is in its essence incongruous with populism. However, given that aid has in reality often been deployed to promote national interests, the relationships between populist politics and development aid are likely more complex.

This panel seeks contributions that explore links between populist politics and the provision of development assistance/foreign aid. We also welcome papers that investigate the perception of development cooperation by populist parties and the attitude of populist governments towards poorer countries.

Accepted papers: