Authoritarian populism | Populist authoritarianism

James, Malcolm (2018) Authoritarian populism | Populist authoritarianism. In: Regeneration songs: sounds of investment and loss in East London. Repeater Books, London, pp. 291-306. ISBN 978-1912248230

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (165kB)


In Brexit and the election of Donald Trump we have witnessed the rise of authoritarian populism. Across the Atlantic, appeals to the people are being made in the name of law and order, race and nation. Trump, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson are not alone. In continental Europe, Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orbán, Geert Wilders and the Flemish national party, Vlaams Belang also suture individuals’ dissatisfaction with neoliberalism with racial, nationalist and authoritarian allures.

While moments such as Brexit provide a lens through which authoritarian populism becomes apparent, there is a risk that over-attention to its spectacle will detract from wider analysis of the problem at hand. Certainly, Farage and Johnson did not come out of thin air. Rather, they are the product of history and social context. As they took to the stage, their positions were already constituted in popular culture.

Architecture and urban development provide an important access point for this discussion. Key indicators of dominant culture, they offer incubators for the forms of populist authoritarianism so prominently observed. Newham’s Arc of Opportunity is a case in point. Here, in the regeneration of Stratford Town, Canning Town, Custom House and the Royal Docks we see authoritarianism fabricated in glass, grass and concrete, and we see this done in the name of the masses.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: East London, Newham, populism, authoritarianism, architecture, regeneration, urban, London
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0621 Culture
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Depositing User: Malcolm James
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2018 10:00
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2018 10:00

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update