Tim Houwen

Winner Dissertation Prize 2015

Reclaiming Power for the People. Populism in Democracy.

Supervisors: professor E. van der Zweerde, professor P.J.M. van Tongeren
Nomination: Radboud University Nijmegen, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies

Report of the Selection Committee

It is impossible to imagine present-day politics without the phenomenon of populism. This thesis offers a political-philosophical analysis of the phenomenon. Approaching the subject from a broader context, namely the populist movements in Europe and the rest of the world, the research investigates how populism is linked to representative democracy. Tim Houwen argues that there are two sides to populism. On the one hand, populist politicians and their arguments are seen as a major threat, while on the other people embrace the word ‘populist’ as a badge of pride. The thesis qualifies those extremes, putting them in historical perspective, and succeeds admirably in that endeavour.