Rationalität der Gefühle in Zeiten des Populismus

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This paper discusses the relationship between emotions and rationality in the current debate aboutpopulism from the perspective of radical democracy. In response to the diagnosis of postdemocracy andpolitical apathy, the task was to help revitalize democracy, including through the deliberate elicitationof emotions. Using insights from Laclau`s and Mouffe`s political theories, two strategies are proposed,a strategy of indignation and a strategy of trust. By linking both strategies to the current discourse onthe rationality of emotions, both conceptions can be differentiated in a new way. Accordingly, it is notjust the issue of negative versus positive emotions, but the emotions also differ in their degree ofactivation and mobilization and thus the potential of their strategic use. This difference finally formsthe basis for analyzing the radical democratic potential of populism. A comparison of left and rightpopulisms should show that their difference can also be shown in dealing with the strategies described.Thus, the question arises why the one-sided thematization of negative emotions in the radicaldemocratic discourse remains dominant.


Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)23–42
Journal Diskurs : Zeitschrift
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Research priority areas of TU Dresden