“Authoritarian Populism as Rightwing Countermovement: Policy Heterogeneity, Deinstitutionalisation and Plunder in Turkey”
Dr. Ali Burak Güven, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and International Political Economy in the Department of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London
Abstract: This paper develops an analytical framework to understand emergent authoritarian populisms around the world by building on the Polanyian concept of “double movement.” It contends that such projects constitute “countermovements of the right” in the same mould as the fascist experiments of interwar Europe that followed the first era of market-driven international integration. Broadly similar to interwar fascisms, today’s authoritarian populisms combine palliative interventions to address the distributive strains of globalist market expansion with an illiberal agenda riding on the identity politics of the ethno-religious majority. They often employ three devices: a built-in pragmatism to interlace a wide range of policy programmes; state restructuring to maximise executive autonomy; and cross-class coalitions to cultivate loyalty while maintaining a degree of social cohesion. The paper uses Turkey, patient zero of contemporary authoritarian populisms, to illustrate how these devices can grow ever more destructive when they fail to generate a viable economic model and authoritarianism takes hold. As Erdoğan’s “neoliberal populism” evolved into an authoritarian project in the past decade, policy pragmatism was reduced to extreme policy heterogeneity, state restructuring culminated in deinstitutionalisation, and coalition-building degenerated into levels of clientelism and cronyism leading to flagrant waste and open plunder of public resources.
Author bio: Ali Burak Güven is Senior Lecturer in International Relations and International Political Economy in the Department of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London, where he directs the MSc programme in Global Political Economy. He writes on the international and comparative political economy of development, in particular on multilateral organisations and Turkish political economy.
Room Info: A-130
Monday, May 29, 2023, 12:30 p.m.