What is it about?

Despite the increasing media and academic attention, historical discrepancies in how to conceptualise and operationalise populism have hindered cumulative progress in the literature. This paper develops a new analytical framework which deconstructs populism into five dimensions: (1) depiction of the polity, (2) morality, (3) construction of society, (4) sovereignty and (5) leadership. These dimensions, that synthesise the most influential conceptualisations of populism, are empirically and theoretically interconnected and encompass ideational, discursive and performative attributes suggested in the literature.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This article reconciles most of the different approaches to the study of populism in a single framework. The multidimensional framework introduced here provides a heuristic template that can be adapted to various needs. The paper proposes some operationalisation avenues and examples of indicators for the analysis both of the supply-side (via content and discourse analysis) and demand-side of populism (via surveys).


With this article I hope to push other scholars to shift from chasing populists to deconstructing populism. Rather than focusing on categorising subjects as populists or not, I recommend reaching a better understanding of what populism is, the salience and relative weight of its attributes and how they interact creating an inner populist logic.

Dr Jose Javier Olivas Osuna
Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: From chasing populists to deconstructing populism: A new multidimensional approach to understanding and comparing populism, European Journal of Political Research, December 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12428.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page