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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS)

Seongcheol Kim

Seongcheol Kim

BGSS Generation 2016



Discourse, Hegemony, and Populism in the Visegrád Four



Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel

Prof. Dr. Martin Nonhoff



This dissertation examines populist discourses in the party systems of the Visegrád Four countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) from the perspective of Laclau’s theory of discourse, hegemony, and populism as well as the conceptual framework of so-called Essex School discourse analysis.  Drawing on Laclau’s understanding of populism as a discursive logic of drawing an antagonistic frontier between a popular subject and a power bloc, the dissertation seeks to examine how populism dynamically comes and goes in the discourses of political parties at certain conjunctures and takes on various ideological structurations (such as joint articulation with nationalism, conservatism, or even liberalism).  The central research question thus straddles empirical, interpretative, and critical inquiry (in line with what Glynos and Howarth refer to as “critical explanation”), asking how “the people” is constructed in different populist discourses and setting this in relation to established discursive contexts of post-1989 transformation as well as competing hegemonic claims to (re-)constitute social order.  The hegemony analytic approach thus seeks to provide a diachronic account of how populist discourses emerge from dislocations in post-1989 transformation discourses and subsequently change over time, especially from positions of government, as well as a synchronic perspective on competing populisms at particular conjunctures, both of which can draw on a wide range of case material within the V4 context.  The project thus aims at a productive interplay of applied discourse theory in the study of populism and the growing body of populism research on the V4 region in particular.


Recent Publications

Agridopoulos, Aristotelis/Kim, Seongcheol (2019): "Populismus". In: Dagmar Comtesse/Oliver Flügel-Martinsen/Franziska Martinsen/Martin Nonhoff (Hg.): Radikale Demokratietheorie. Ein Handbuch. Berlin: Suhrkamp (im Erscheinen).

Kim, Seongcheol (2017): "The Populism of the Alternative for Germany (AfD): An Extended Essex School Perspective". In: Palgrave Communications, Vol. 3.

Kim, Seongcheol (2017): "Between Milieu and Vacuum: Organizational, Programmatic, and Electoral Strategies of the Former Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) Reexamined". In: Politologický časopis/Czech Journal of Political Science, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 302-329.



Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)