(26 March 2014) Populism and personalist parties: the case of Bulgaria by Assistant Prof. Emilia Zankina
When: 26 March, 2014, 19:00
Where: Sofia University Rectorate, lecture hall 224 (hall America for Bulgaria)
This lecture builds on continuing research that offers a new approach to the study of populism. Adopting a transaction-cost framework, I argue that populism is a political strategy that reduces the transaction costs of politics by increasing the use of informal political institutions in the name of “direct” and “immediate” action. As such, populism contributes to the emergence of personalist parties which, having a dominant leader and weak organizational structure and thus, being a single-, as opposed to a multi-actor organization, reduce transaction costs by definition. I use the Bulgarian case as an illustration of the rise of populism and personalist parties across Europe and as a background upon which to apply the transaction cost framework.