Varieties of Capitalism and Sub-Types of Populism: Reflections on Latin America and Europe


Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Kenneth Roberts, Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell University

Moderator: Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government at Harvard University

Many scholars have drawn distinctions between left-leaning, so-called “inclusionary” populism in Latin America and right-wing “exclusionary” populism in Europe. The recent rise of left populisms in the aftermath of Southern Europe’s financial crisis, however, has strong parallels to the Latin American experience, and it casts doubt on any notion that different sub-types of populism have strict geographic determinants. It calls, instead, for a more systematic assessment of how populist responses to failures of democratic representation—that is, populist constructions of “the people” and the “elite” or the “other”—may be embedded in different “varieties of capitalism” and the labor market and welfare state institutions associated with them.

Kenneth M. Roberts is the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell University. His research and teaching interests are focused on party systems, populism, social movements, and the politics of inequality in Latin America. He is the author of Changing Course in Latin America: Party Systems in the Neoliberal Era (Cambridge University Press) and Deepening Democracy? The Modern Left and Social Movements in Chile and Peru (Stanford University Press). He is also the co-editor of The Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Johns Hopkins University Press) and The Diffusion of Social Movements (Cambridge University Press). His current research explores the political impact of financial crises in Latin America and Southern Europe from a cross-regional comparative perspective.