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8 books to help us re-imagine populism and privilege [reading list]

The 115th American Political Science Association Annual Meeting’s conference theme is “Populism and Privilege.” It will highlight the self-identified populist movements around the globe, whose main unifying trait is their claim to champion the people against entrenched elites.  This scholarship raises vital questions about whether some or all of these self-labeled populist movements represent understandable, legitimate responses to entrenched, self-serving privileges and perspectives of global and national elites or whether they instead represent efforts to preserve privileges of established groups against economic, demographic, and cultural transformations. The meeting will feature writers from around the world, whom collectively or individually speak on pressing issues surrounding this topic.

We’ve compiled a brief reading list highlighting books that focus on the conference theme.

The Fight for Time

In today’s world, working people’s experiences are strangely becoming more alike even as their disparities sharpen. Paul Apostolidis explores the logic behind this paradox by listening to what Latino day laborers say about work and society. The book shows how migrant laborers are both important in relation to the precarious conditions of contemporary work life.  Read a free chapter here.

Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe

Sheri Berman provides a new understanding of the development of democracy and dictatorship in Europe by drawing on lessons from European political development that illuminate problems democracy is facing in Europe and elsewhere today.

Sanctuary Cities

Loren Collingwood and Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien examine the origins of sanctuary policies, but also media framing, public opinion, policy influences, and the effect sanctuary cities have on crime and Latino incorporation.

Specters of Belonging

Drawing on his experiences leading citizenship classes for Mexican migrants and working with cross-border activists, Adrián Félix examines the political lives (and deaths) of Mexican migrants. Tracing transnationalism across the different stages of the migrant political life cycle, this book reveals the ways in which Mexican immigrants practice citizenship in the United States as well as Mexico. Read a free chapter here.

Framing Inequality

Matt Guardino connects news content, elite rhetoric, and public opinion to the historical dynamics of the American media system and media policy regime and provides a study that delves deeply into the political-economic structure and institutional dynamics of the news media in this book. Read a free chapter here.

State Capture

Alex Hertel-Fernandez provides a history of the rise of conservative lobbying groups, including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the State Policy Network, and Americans for Prosperity, documenting both their victories and their missteps over time.

Populism and Liberal Democracy

Takis Pappas’ book offers a comprehensive theory about populism during both its emergence and consolidation phases in three geographical regions: Europe, Latin America and the United States.  If rising populism is a threat to liberal democratic politics it is only by answering the questions it posits that populism may be resisted successfully.

Read a free chapter here.

Immigration and Democracy

While defending the right of states to control immigration, Sarah Song also argues that states have an obligation to open their doors to refugees and migrants seeking to be reunited with family. This book considers the implications of a new positive theory for immigration law and policy. Read a free chapter here.

See which authors are hosting or attending events on this fully searchable online conference program.

Featured image credit: “Capitol Building Full View” by “noclip”. Public domain via WikimediaCommons.

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