Second-Order Political Thinking: Compromise versus Populism

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The literature often mentions that populism is in conflict with the politics of compromise. However, the opposition remains vague and undertheorized. This article confronts populism and compromise in a novel way by analyzing them as types of second-order political thinking and ideologies of democracy. Second-order political thinking provides a set of ideas and concepts that frames and regulates how we relate to others in politics, and how we make political decisions for, with, or against them. By contrasting populism and compromise as types of second-order political thinking, we will better be able to understand each and normatively compare them. Thus, we see that (1) compromise is inherently most attractive as second-order political thinking, and (2) populism fails as an ideology of democracy, because it cannot explain the meaning and value of the democratic system as a set of authoritative institutions and procedures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)559-576
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021

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