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Volume 37, 2020

Populism and Globalization

Victor Roudometof
Pages 165-186

Globalization, Cosmopolitanism and 21st Century Populism

The contemporary debate on 21st century populism centres on a term (“populism”) that can be flled with multiple meanings. It provides the social sciences with a “meta-concept” that offers coherence to disciplinary discourses. In the 21st century, globalization and cosmopolitanism are often viewed as an irresistible force by intellectuals, with advocacy of cosmopolitanism becoming commonplace. For the most part, the academic community has only belatedly and reluctantly decided to address the electoral success of political parties that reject the political consensus of the post-1989 “New World Order”. In sharp contrast to the intellectuals’ stance, the empirical evidence suggests that it is localism (and not cosmopolitanism) that has been on the rise in recent decades. Glocalization is connected to the formation of varied collective responses and representations, thereby giving rise to the mutually defined pair of cosmopolitanism and localism. The cosmopolitanism–localism binary relationship is a result (or outcome) of glocalization. However, the majority of social-scientifc perspectives do not give proper consideration to the notion of “local”. The notions of localization and de-globalization as part of post-Great Recession trends are discussed. The extent to which these can rectify shortcomings in current theorizing is explored.