A Marriage of Convenience: Responsive Populists and Responsible Experts

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Editorial | Open Access

A Marriage of Convenience: Responsive Populists and Responsible Experts


  • Petra Guasti Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  • Lenka Buštíková School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University, USA


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Abstract:  This thematic issue, “Varieties of Technocratic Populism around the World,” investigates ideological origins of technocratic populism and situates it among other types of populism. It is composed of 11 articles that bring together 18 scholars from around the world with a wide variety of perspectives. Technocratic populism is an output-oriented populism that directly links voters to leaders via expertise. It emerges as a response to a crisis of governance, reproaches mainstream parties for it and offers solutions that challenge traditional left–right divisions in politics. New leaders combine populism with technocracy: They offer expertise, often harnessed in business, but also a direct, personalized link to ‘ordinary’ citizens. Above all, they politicize expertise to gain legitimacy. Technocratic populism primarily responds to frustrations of the electorate with poor governance, not to nativist grievances or to the plight of the most vulnerable citizens. In a new social contract, it is expected that voters renounce politics and political parties and that they turn into spectators who observe how technocratic elites adopt solutions that benefit the ‘ordinary people.’ Technocratic populism is a growing challenge to pluralistic forms of representative democracy and calls for further scholarly attention.

Keywords:  expertise; governance; grievance; pandemic; populism; technocracy; technocratic populism

Published:   17 December 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i4.3876


© Petra Guasti, Lenka Buštíková. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.