Case Studies in the Sociology of Absence and Emergence: Anarcho-Populism in Russia and Mexico
Theory in Action
This paper practices Sousa Santos’ sociology of absences and emergences by establishing the absence of anarchism in populism studies and the presence of anarcho-populism as a concrete yet underappreciated type of populism. We conduct a comparative case study analysis of a set of historical cases, Zemlya i Volya and the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM). We define the term “anarcho-populism,” and analyze the relationship between anarchism and populism through a discursive and ideological theory of populism as a thin-centered ideology reliant on a rhetoric of the people. The results of our case studies demonstrate the existence of anarcho-populism in both Russia and Mexico, however not in all cases examined. Our findings challenge conceptualizations of populism that circumscribe populism within representative democracy and the logic of state sovereignty, highlighting the utility of anarchism in understanding a type of populism rooted in direct democracy and the sovereignty of federated communes.
Transformative Studies Institute Jan 2022
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Smolski, A., Sethness, J., & Ross, A. (2022). Case Studies in the Sociology of Absence and Emergence: Anarcho-Populism in Russia and Mexico. Theory in Action, 15(1), 1–24.