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  An enormously complex term which refers to both political ideologies and economic development strategies that are bound up with notions of the ordinary, the people, anti-industrialism and small-scale enterprise (\'small is beautiful\'). Populism as practice can be seen as a counter-current, a minority discourse, to the rise of industrial capitalism. While certain lines of populist thinking can be traced to pre-industrial Leveller and Digger movements of seventeenth-century England, the intellectual origins are typically traced to Sismondi and the Ricardian socialists (Kitching, 1982).

Kitching notes that there are two senses in which populism is employed. One turns on its opposition to large-scale urban manufacture and its promotion of small-scale, moral, efficient enterprises, and the other on a particular sort of politics in which an effort is made to manufacture a national-collective will (see also nationalism). Populist political strategies and rhetorics reside in what Laclau (1977) calls a double articulation: first, the creation of a stable bloc consisting of the people and powerful classes, and second, the discourses by which \'the people\'s\' interests are configured with those of other classes (see class and state). Populist movements can, for example, encompass farmer radicalism, agrarian socialism, populist dictatorship (Peronism), populist democracy, and urban social movements (Canovan, 1981; see also squatter settlement). Populist, or neo-populist, development strategies can include peasant cooperatives, the informal sector, land reform and Third World flexible specialization (Kitching, 1980). A powerful line of populist thinking in development geography and agrarian studies includes the work of Chayanov (see peasant). (MW)

References and Suggested Reading Canovan, M. 1981: Populism. London: Junction Books. Kitching, G. 1982: Development and underdevelopment in historical perspective. London: Methuen. Laclau, E. 1977: Politics and ideology in Marxist theory. London: Verso. Watts, M. 1995: A new deal for the emotions. In J. Crush, ed., Power of development. London: Routledge, 44-62.



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