Past Event

Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy - Book Launch and Discussion

October 14, 2019
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française


  • Nadia Urbinati, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies, Columbia University

  • Sheri Berman, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College, Columbia University

  • Federico Finchelstein, Professor of History, The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College

  • Bernard Manin, Professor of Politics, New York University


  • Adam Tooze, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History & Director of the European Institute


What distinguishes populism from run-of-the-mill democratic politics? And why should we be concerned by its rise? In Me the People, Nadia Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as a new form of representative government, one based on a direct relationship between the leader and those the leader defines as the “good” or “right” people. Urbinati shows that, while populist governments remain importantly distinct from dictatorial or fascist regimes, their dependence on the will of the leader, along with their willingness to exclude the interests of those deemed outside the bounds of the “good” or “right” people, stretches constitutional democracy to its limits and opens a pathway to authoritarianism.


This event is co-sponsored by the Columbia University Maison Française, European Institute, Alliance, Department of Political Science, and The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities.