The Relationship Between Religion and Populism: A Review of the Critical Literature


  • S.L. Staley


Abstract. We review the literature on the threat of religious populism to the health of liberal democracies today. The literature attributes the presence of populism within liberal democracies to socio-economic conditions, the media, and identity politics. In recent years, growing attention has focused on the role of social media driving the success of populism and not enough time on the variable of the institution of religious fundamentalism impacting interpersonal relationships and social conditioning individuals driving the success of populist movements within liberal democracies. There can be little dispute that religious populism is an area of importance in democracy studies. Yet, there have been few literature reviews on this topic. This paper seeks to identify the literature surrounding this field to help inspire research that would help democracy scholars identify whether or not institutions construct socially conditioned cognitive distortions for individuals and drive the success of populist movements. Further research of the mechanism of religious populism and its impact in shaping perceptions of reality on individuals living within democracies is needed. Understanding the mechanism behind religious populism and its intersections would empower citizens to contribute to a collectively healthy democracy. For the scope of this paper, we will review the relevant intersectional literature on populism and religion, focusing on fundamentalism

Keywords: Religious Populism, Democracy, Cognitive Distortions, Conspiracy Theories



2021-09-10 — Actualitzat el 2021-09-11