Contemporary Left-wing Populism in Latin America: Leadership, Horizontalism, and Postdemocracy in Chávez's Venezuela.

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    • Abstract:
      ABSTRACT Critical engagement with the case of Chavismo in Venezuela can offer valuable insights for a fuller understanding of contemporary populism in Latin America. While for some scholars Chávez's populism has fostered popular empowerment, others dwell on the newly confirmed tensions between populism, liberal rights, and democratic proceduralism. This article embraces both positions but moves beyond their one-sidedness to cast Chavista populism as an inherently contradictory phenomenon that has constituted an ambivalent and transitory process in response to the gradual closure of liberal (post)democracy. Chavista 'caesaro-plebeian' populism is construed as a site of tension and contention, which entails both promises and dangers for democracy. To make these points, the article draws on the discursive analysis of populism and on a new, productive shift in the study of populism in Venezuela, which pursues ethnographic field research on social movements instead of focusing exclusively on the figure of the leader. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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