Populism as Symbolic Class Struggle. Homology, Metaphor, and English Ale


This contribution links the study of populism as a stylistic repertoire with Bourdieusian class analysis. The starting point is Ostiguy and Moffitt's observation that the populist repertoire draws on symbols of the 'sociocultural low' and 'the popular' produced in non-political fields like food and leisure. Borrowing from Lévi-Strauss and Bourdieu, the article proposes to view these elements as metaphors for positions in vertical and horizontal class relations. Metaphorical signification rests on homologies between the symbolic sphere ('culture') and politics grounded in the divisions of social space ('the class structure'). This perspective allows us to situate the populist repertoire in social structure and analyze its entanglement in struggles over the classification of groups, or symbolic class struggles.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v13i1p256

Keywords: Populism; Class Analysis; Culture; Bourdieu; Lévi-Strauss; Structuralism; Homology


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