Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A distinction must be made between more or less coherent populist movements on the one hand and populism as a generic theoretical concept referring to a variety of demagogic messages and attitudes on the other. In the following, the various phases of populist movements and ideas are discussed in their historical contexts. The conclusion points to current concerns. Scholars conventionally identify the first historical manifestation of populism in the Russian intellectual populism of the late 1840s Narodnikis (i.e., populists in Russian; the word narodnitchestvo —populism—appeared in the 1870s). Influenced by the ideas of Aleksandr Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin, and Nicolai Tchernichevski but devoid of any elaborate ideology, these Narodnikis emerged as a revolutionary movement adhering to some kind of idolatry of the peasantry and the rural village ( obchtchina ). They were ultraleftist, prone to the use of violence and even political assassinations. This led, later on, to nihilism—terrorism as propagated ...