C.H. de Vreese
- Populist political communication: Toward a model of its causes, forms, and effects
- Book title
- Populist Political Communication in Europe
- Pages (from-to)
- New York: Routledge
- ISBN (electronic)
- Routledge Research in Communication Studies
- Volume (Serie)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
In his famous book, Social science concepts: A systematic analysis (1984), Giovanni Sartori (1984) is hard on his fellow scholars in the social sciences. Bemoaning a lack of conceptual clarity and a widespread collective ambiguity of social science concepts, he diagnoses a “state of chaos” in most social science disciplines and calls for concept reconstruction as “a highly needed therapy” (pp. 41-42). Although Sartori did not explicitly refer to populism in the context of these remarks, it seems fair to say that they apply to this concept. Populism surely ranks among the most popular and, at the same time, most contested concepts in the social sciences. Numerous articles and chapters have been written about how populism should best be dened and which elements “really” constitute populism. However, there is still no consensus about what the term should describe. Of course, it can be argued that it is usual for social science concepts to be contested and that alternative conceptualizations and denitions provide scholars with the opportunity to select the specic version of a concept that suits them and their research interests best. Nonetheless, problems like collective conceptual ambiguity, lack of precision, and the widespread use of different terms for describing the same phenomena (synonymy) or of the same term for describing different phenomena (homonymy) can have negative consequences. Most importantly, such inconsistencies hamper scientic discourse and communication between science and society. Further, they endanger the comparability of ndings and, as a consequence, impede the accumulation and integration of research results, theory building, and the thorough explanation of the social phenomena at hand.
- Final publisher version
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