Cynthia Radding

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This essay presents social and cultural perspectives on populism in Latin America focused on its cultural roots, history, and social bases. The following themes represent four common foundations of populism: mass electoral politics and universal suffrage, appeal to social issues and economic well being, political rhetoric linked to the sovereignty of the nation-state, national control of natural resources and social demands for distribution of the revenues they generate. The central question explored in this presentation concerns the conditions that give rise to populism, which requires a social pact of reciprocity and accountability in Latin American political developments. These perspectives relate populist politics to indigenous movements, human rights, and the basic economic issues that inform both the rhetoric and the substance of Latin American politics historically and for the present generation.

Language (ISO)



populism, national sovereignty, human rights, citizenship, indigenous movements, subsistence economy, globalization, environment