• Kilian Spandler

Populism in world politics

Populists have risen to power in many states around the world. What does this mean for the future of world order? Many observers fear that populist state leaders will exploit and aggravate the crisis of established international organizations and multilateral agreements. However, we see that some populists in power actually engage quite actively in international cooperation. My research explores populists' ambivalent stance on the world stage.


In the book "Contestations of the Liberal International Order: A Populist

Script of Regional Cooperation" in the Cambridge Elements in International Relations series (2021), my co-authors Fredrik Söderbaum, Agnese Pacciardi and I investigate the emergence of a populist 'script' of regional cooperation. This script frames regional cooperation in a way that makes it consistent with their domestic political strategies of pitting 'the people' against 'the elites'. It therefore enables populist leaders to engage in regional organizations despite their often nationalist ideological leanings. The book thus helps understand the role of populism in the crisis of liberal international order and its implications for the future of multilateral cooperation.


I introduce the research behind the book in this video abstract:


Populism has also been in the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic. By many measures, populist state leaders have fared poorly in managing the spread of the virus and its consequences. In this video, Nicolás Acosta García and I discuss populism and the pandemic: