Paradise Lost: Explaining Populism as a Response to the Fragmentary Nature of Time, Space, and the Rapid Pace of Technological Advancement

Dora Vrhoci


Contemporary societies and technologies are evolving at an ever-swifter pace. Advances in the field of Augmented Reality (AR) and in Computer Science at large have led to games that let us immerse ourselves in worlds stuffed with zombies, robots, or pokemon critters. Globalization is making the world ever more interconnected, and the development of diverse social media platforms is changing the way people engage with politics and culture in their daily lives. Time and space have arguably never been more liquid, fragmentary, and compressed. Against this host of developments, Postmodern ideas on the fragmentation of time and space,
the rupture in personal and national identity narratives, as well as the concept of «utopia,» can provide theoretical tools, shedding light on how various agents react to the rapid pace of technological change (such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and digitalization), and subsequent alterations in Man’s perception of time and space. This paper reconstructs the key tenets of Postmodern thinking on cultural phenomena, showing how the changing experience of time and space (induced by globalization, and technological advances) bear on the recent successes of populist parties in Europe and beyond. Furthermore, the paper places populists’ narrative of and nostalgic mourning for an ideal past in a longer continuum of utopian and dystopian thinking. This is then interpreted as an attempt to build a vision of a homeostatic space that, once conceptualized as a rhetorical tool, serves to forge
bonds among ‘(good) people

Text complet:

145-159 (English)


Anderson, B.(1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.

Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bollas, C. (2018). Meaning and melancholia: life in the age of bewilderment. Routledge.

Boym, S. (2001). The future of nostalgia. New York: Basic Books.

Buzalka, J. (2008). Europeanization and post-peasant populism in Eastern Europe. Europe-Asia Studies, 60(5), 757-771.

Caiani, M. and Kröll, P. (2017). Nationalism and populism in radical right discourses in Italy and Germany. Javnost—

The Public: Journal of the European Institute for Communication and Culture, 24(4). 336-354.

Calhoun, C. (2017). Populism, nationalism and Brexit. W. Outhwaite (Ed.), Brexit: Sociological responses (pp. 57-76).

London: Anthem Press.

Claeys, G. (2011). Searching for utopia: The history of an idea. London: Thames and Hudson.

Configuration [Def 1]. (n.d.). In English Oxford living dictionaries.

configuration, access 23 July 2018.

del Giudice, L. and Porter, G. (2001). Introduction. L. del Giudice and G. Porter (Eds.), Imagined states (pp. 1-7).

Logan: Utah State University.

Dickens, D. R. and Fontana, A. (2002). Time and Postmodernism. Symbolic Interaction, 25(3), 389-396.

Fuchs, C. (2018). Trumpology: Donald Trump’s ideology: Digital demagogue. London: Pluto Press.

Hann, C. (2015). Why post-imperial trumps post-socialist: Crying back to national past in Hungary. O. Angé and

D. Berliner (Eds.), Anthropology and Nostalgia (pp. 96-122). Berghahn Books.

Hanson, C. (2018). Game time: Understanding temporality in video games. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Harvey, D. (1990). The condition of postmodernity: An enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Blackwell Publishers.

Inglehart, R. and Welzel, C. (2009). How development leads to democracy: What we know about modernization.

Foreign Affairs, 88(2), 33-48.

Jameson, F. (1991) Postmodernism or, the cultural logic of late capitalism (on line).

subject/philosophy/works/us/jameson.htm, access 19 June 2018.

Kaufmann, V. (2002/2016). Re-Thinking mobility: Contemporary sociology. New York: Routledge.

Lyotard, J. (2004). The postmodern condition. J. Rivkin, and M. Ryan (Eds.), Literary theory: An anthology (355-364).

Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Massey, D. (1994). Space, place, and gender. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Milligan, M. J. (2003). Displacement and identity discontinuity: The role of nostalgia in establishing new identity

categories. Symbolic Interaction, 26 (3), 381-403.

More, T. (1516/2014). Utopia (2nd ed.). Clarence H. Miller, and Jerry Harp (Eds.). Yale University Press.

Mudde, C. (2016). Europe’s populist surge: A long time in the making. Foreign Affairs, 95(6). 25-30.

Mudde, C. and Kaltwasser C. R. (2017). Populism: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mudde, C. and Kaltwasser C. R. (2018). Studying populism in comparative perspective: Reflections on the contemporary

and future research agenda. Comparative Political Studies, 51(13), 1667-1693.

Portolano, M. (2012). The rhetorical function of utopia: An exploration of the concept of utopia in rhetorical

theory. Utopian Studies, 23 (1), 113-141.

Rensmann, L. (2017). The noisy counter-revolution: Understanding the cultural conditions and dynamics of populist

politics in Europe in the digital age. Politics and Governance, 5(4), 123-135.

Rensmann, L. and Miller, J. (2015). Xenophobia and anti-immigrant politics. The International Studies Encyclopedia, 1-22.

Ritzer, G. (2011). Globalization: The essentials. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Routledge, C. (2015). Nostalgia: A psychological resource. New York: Routledge.

Van Stokkom, B. (2012). Deliberative rituals: Emotional energy and enthusiasm in debating landscape renewal.

S. Thompson, and P. Hoggett (Eds.), Politics and the emotions: The affective turn in contemporary political studies

(PART ONE: Emotion, Antagonism, and Deliberation). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Vieira, F. (2010). The concept of utopia. Gregory C. (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to utopian literature (pp. 3-27).

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wachtel, A. B. and Vinitsky, I. (2009). Russian literature. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Wodak, R. (2013). “Anything goes!”–The Haiderization of Europe. R. Wodak, M. Khosravinik, and B. Mral (Eds.),

Right-wing populism in Europe: Politics and discourse (pp. 23-38). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Wodak, R., De Cillia, R., Reisigl, M. and Leibhart, K. (2009). The discursive construction of national identity. Edinburgh:

Edinburgh University Press.

Wróbel, S. (2011). Mourning populism: The case of Poland. Polish Sociological Review, 176, 437-456.

Enllaços refback

  • No hi ha cap enllaç refback.