VAN KESSEL, S., 2014. The populist cat-dog: applying the concept of populism to contemporary European party systems. Journal of Political Ideologies, 19 (1), pp.99-118
Populism is a frequently used yet problematic concept; the term is often ill-defined and randomly applied. While these problems have been widely acknowledged, this article argues that there are still issues with the way populism tends to be used, even if a sound definition is provided. This relates to the fact that it is often not clear whether populism is used to refer to an ideological feature of an exclusive category of political parties or whether populism is seen as a type of discourse which can be expressed by any political actor. In order to illustrate the difficulties with regard to the application of the term populism, several 'hard' cases of populism across Europe are discussed. The article argues that in order to stimulate a more accurate use of the term, observers should be explicit not only about the meaning of populism, but also about the form in which it manifests itself.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Journal of Political Ideologies on 13 February 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13569317.2013.869457