Saving the People: How Populists Hijack Religion

Saving the People: How Populists Hijack Religion


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Saving the People: How Populists Hijack Religion by Nadia Marzouki

Western democracies are experiencing a new wave of right-wing populism that seeks to mobilize 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 Islamization, with Muslims becoming a key '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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190639013
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents



Introduction: Populism and Religion
Nadia Marzouki and Duncan McDonnell

1. The Lega Nord
Duncan McDonnell
2. The 'Religious Conversion' of the Austrian Populist Radical Right
Leila Hadj-Abdou
3. Populism and Islam in Switzerland
Oscar Mazzoleni
4. Using Faith to Exclude
Stijn van Kessel
5. The French National Front
Olivier Roy
6. Religion and Populism in Britain
Timothy Peace
7. Defenders of the Cross
Ben Stanley
8. 'The God of Hungarians'
Zoltán Ádám and András Bozóki
9. The Tea Party and Religion
Nadia Marzouki
10. 'We Are Also the (Chosen) People, You Are Not'
Dani Filc
11. Beyond Populism
Olivier Roy


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