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This special issue brings together leading feminist political scientists and social theorists who offer trenchant and timely commentary on the under-theorized, gendered dimensions of populism, democratic backsliding, and rising authoritarianism in the age of COVID-19. It will draw to the fore the “patriarchy ...

This special issue brings together leading feminist political scientists and social theorists who offer trenchant and timely commentary on the under-theorized, gendered dimensions of populism, democratic backsliding, and rising authoritarianism in the age of COVID-19. It will draw to the fore the “patriarchy problem” lurking behind post-2016 manifestations of populism.

By patriarchy, we mean the interconnected systems of male and/or masculine, racial, heteronormative, ableist, class, and national privilege and bias that are institutionalized through politics, law, economics, and culture. By populism, we mean varieties of social movements, electoral politics, party politics, and leadership that invoke the authority of ordinary people over and against the alleged corruption or illegitimacy of elite political actors. Paradoxically, populist movements often appeal to gender, sexual, racial, disability, class, and national stereotypes in fostering distrust of democratic political institutions, even as they profess to support the empowerment of “the people.”

This special issue treats the social and political problems generated by patriarchy as central to conceptualizing populism and theorizing its negative effects upon the sustenance of democracy and legitimate government.

Keywords: patriarchy, populism, democracy, authoritarianism, gender


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