Nadia Urbinati is the Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. She is the author of several books, including Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth, and the People (Harvard); The Tyranny of the Moderns; Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy; and Mill on Democracy: From the Athenian Polis to Representative Government, which won the David and Elaine Spitz Prize for the best book in democratic theory.
Me the People arguably ranks as the best available analysis
of populism in any language. Nadia Urbinati persuasively interprets
populism as an autoimmune disease of democracy; as a new form of
disfigured representative government gripped by leaders who pose as
the embodiment of a 'true' people-enthusiastic but loyal subjects
who have little or no taste for free media, independent courts, and
other 'intermediary' power-restraining institutions. Urbinati's
message is timely and disturbing. -- John Keane, author of The
Life and Death of Democracy
The study of populism has become all too fashionable, but this volume stands out for its great originality. Unlike so many scholars jumping on the populism bandwagon, Nadia Urbinati has a well-developed theory of democracy, which she deftly deploys to pinpoint the dangers of populism. She also draws on her profound knowledge in the history of political thought to advance her arguments. -- Jan-Werner Muller, author of What Is Populism?
With her erudition and clear-eyed assessment of the decline of parties and partisanship, Nadia Urbinati delivers a bold theory of how populist democracy works today. As populism goes from political movement to holding power, the familiar elements-the leader who embodies the people, the hostility to pluralism, the repudiation of mediating institutions-come together in a new and unaccountable form of governing. Me the People prepares us for the challenge. -- Nancy Rosenblum, author of A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy
In an increasingly crowded field, Nadia Urbinati develops a novel and sophisticated theory of the phenomenology of populism. She engages with the populist critique of what went wrong with democracy and shows how populist solutions, instead of leading to radical democracy, will lead to its disfigurement. -- Carlos de la Torre, editor of The Promise and Perils of Populism
Urbinati has produced an exceptional scholarly work on a highly relevant socio-political phenomenon. Her line of argument is necessarily complex and deep. Her research is outstandingly extensive. -- Deepak Tripathi * New York Journal of Books *
With considerable debate around the concept of populism, and its intersections with democracy and authoritarianism, this book provides an important contribution to advance understanding of how populism is transforming contemporary democracies. -- Sarah Cameron * European Political Science *