Philip Giurlando and Daniel F. Wajner, "Populist Foreign Policy: Regional Perspectives of Populism in the International Scene" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023)


The focus of the research on populism as a category of political analysis has mostly been on domestic politics and can be traced back to the 1960s. Only in the last two decades this field of inquiry taken a more focused and specialized hue, involving systematic attempts to investigate populist governments’ behavior in the international arena. ...

While some scholars understand populism as a threat to the institutions of liberal democracy and even of the liberal international order, others consider the populist potential to enhance democracy—understood as popular rule—and promote a fairer global governance.

– Introduction to Populist Foreign Policy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023)

This edited volume, Populist Foreign Policy: Regional Perspectives of Populism in the International Scene, explores the global phenomenon of populism in relation to states' foreign policy, addressing two key questions: How do populists mold their foreign policies? What are the domestic and external factors that enable and constrain it? To this end, Professors Giurlando and Wajner’s book brings together a diverse group of scholars who have already researched on populist foreign policies (PFP) in specific countries to contribute shared chapters that examine their drivers, patterns, and effects according to distinctive regions: North America, Western Europe, Southern Europe, Central-Eastern Europe, Latin America, South-East Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, and Africa.

The empirical analysis sheds new light on how populists’ distinctive conception of a world divided antagonistically between “the people” and “the elites” influences behavior towards multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union, and regional or global hegemonic powers like the United States, Germany, Russia, and China. The book also shows how ideas related to identity, ideology, status and emotions, impinge on populists’ conduct vis-à-vis other international actors, and how national and international structures affect the implementation of populist foreign policies in the regional, interregional, and global arenas. The wide geographical diversity and regional representation are also valuable in identifying cultural similarities and differences. Hence, the findings contribute to lively debates on whether there is a unified and coherent foreign policy among populist leaderships, and whether populism leads to a gradual “corrective” of transnational trends in contemporary politics or, conversely, to a more radical, structural shift in the liberal international order.

Philip Giurlando is Assistant Professor of International Relations in the International Studies Department at Xian-Jiao Tong Livermore University. His research interests include the formation and consequences of inter-state hierarchies, and populist foreign policies. His first book, Eurozone Politics: Perception and Reality in Italy, the UK, and Germany (2016) lays the foundation for the interview.

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