United Kingdom, London

Populism and the Crisis of Democracy

when 22 July 2019 - 9 August 2019
language English
duration 3 weeks
fee GBP 1600

From Donald Trump to Brexit to Jair Bolsonaro to Matteo Salvini to Narendra Modi to Viktor Orbán, right-wing populism seems to be advancing relentlessly around the world. Meanwhile, already-existing authoritarian leaders like Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are tightening their grip. Protest movements have emerged in Brazil, France, India and elsewhere, from left and right, united by their loss of faith in conventional (‘neoliberal’) democracy.

Have the things we have been taught to take for granted failed? Will all societies eventually become liberal democracies, are wars, domestic strife and authoritarian governments really things of the past, will capitalism endure indefinitely and is globalisation unstoppable? Why are so many societies buckling under pressure? What role do inequality, exploitation and environmental devastation play in this malaise? Why does immigration feature so prominently in populist campaigns? Why are so many young people cynical about democracy? What role does social media play in these social conflicts? Could conventional wars become a regular feature in the international system? What utopias move the world today? And – if democracies falter, what will replace them?

This course will address these and other burning questions of today’s world, in order to illuminate some of the most pressing economic, social and political issues of our age.

Course leader

Dr. Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor Stephen Hopgood

Target group

You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Course aim

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

-Understand the key social, political and economic challenges facing neoliberalism after the Great Financial Crisis.
-Critically engage with the contemporary literatures on democracy, populism, neoliberalism and financialisation in the advanced countries as well as the Global South.
-Engage constructively with current debates on the rise of the far-right, including those concerning the electoral impact of nationalist programmes.

Credits info

Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Fee info

GBP 1600: There is a 10% early bird discount for applications received by 31st March 2019


Unfortunately, there are no SOAS Scholarships