The aim of this webinar is to discuss the relationship between populism and democracy, starting from Nadia Urbinati’s new book, Me, the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy (2019). The panelists will look at how populism, as a mode of representation, thinks of and operates within the political dimension — as consisting of a dual power, the power of will and the power of judgment.

Populism erodes democracy in Europe, North America, and South America. It is a complex phenomenon that has mobilized many philosophers and political thinkers for some time now. For the most part, and not without reason, thinkers see populism as more than a threat to democracy: they see it as the consummation of democracy’s collapse, often caused by reasons outside the democratic regime. Hence the temptation to bring populism and fascism closer together.

In Me, the People, Nadia Urbinati, while highlighting the danger of populist governments for democracy, considers that populism is an internal pathology of the democratic regime itself, a pathology that does not mean the necessary death of democracy, and that has its vaccine in democracy itself. Nadia focuses her analysis on the kind of political representation populism works with, to allow her a different reading of this widely invoked concept.


  • Nadia Urbinati, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory, Columbia University, U.S.
  • Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory, New School for Social Research, U.S.
  • Wendel Antunes Cintra, Professor, Department of Political Science, Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), Brazil
  • Debora Rezende de Almeida, Professor, Institute of Political Science, University of Brasilia, Brazil
  • Daniel Tourinho Peres, Professor of Philosophy, Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), Brazil
  • Alessandro Pinzani, Professor for Ethics and Political Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

Moderated by:

  • Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Michael E. Gellert Professor of Sociology, New School for Social Research, U.S.

Presented by:

Date: Friday, October 16, 2020

Time: 11AM – 1PM (Eastern Time)

This event is free and open to the public. You will receive a link to this online event after you register here.