Saving the People

Saving the People : How Populists Hijack Religion

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Western democracies are experiencing a new wave of right-wing populism that seeks to mobilise religion for its own ends. With chapters on the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland and Israel, Saving the People asks how populist movements have used religion for their own ends and how Church leaders react to them. The authors contend that religion is more about belonging than belief for populists, with religious identities and traditions being deployed to define who can and cannot be part of 'the people'. This in turn helps many populists to claim that native Christian communities are being threatened by a creeping and highly aggressive process of Islamisation, with Muslims becoming a key, if not the, 'enemy of the people'. While Church elites generally condemn this instrumental use of religions, populists take little heed, presenting themselves as the true saviours of the people. The policy implications of this phenomenon are significant, which makes this book all the more timely and relevant to current debate.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 24mm | 404g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 184904516X
  • 9781849045162
  • 814,892

Review quote

'Compelling and hugely ambitious, this book should be read by everyone'. 'Vox Populi, Vox Dei? In the increasingly saturated market of populism books, Saving the People addresses one of the few important black spots: the relationship between religion and populism. A must-read for anyone interested in politics in contemporary western democracies.' * Cas Mudde, School of Public and International Affairs at University of Georgia and Center for Research on Extremism at University of Oslo * 'This book explores the relationship of right-wing populism with religion. It shows how these parties have "hijacked" religion, using it not as a set of belief but as an identity marker, to strengthen the border between 'us' and 'them'. And in eight of the ten cases studied, Islam is the target. A major and challenging contribution to the understanding of Western populism.' * Nonna Mayer, Research Director at CNRS, Centre d'etudes europeennes de Sciences Po *
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Author information

Nadia Marzouki, a political scientist, is a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. Her work examines public controversies about Islam in the U.S. and secularisation and democratisation in North Africa.Duncan McDonnell is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane. He has published widely on right-wing populism. His current work focuses on radical right populist alliances in Europe and political party organisations.Olivier Roy is one of the most distinguished analysts of and commentators on political Islam in the Middle East and Central Asia. The author of several highly acclaimed books, four of which are published by Hurst, he is Professor at the European University Institute in Florence.
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