Current research: Assessing Conservative Populism

By Ray Kiely

Ray Kiely ( is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London, UK. His books include The Neoliberal Paradox (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018) and The Conservative Challenge to Globalization (Agenda Publishing, 2020).

“Assessing Conservative Populism: A New Double Movement or Neoliberal Populism?” published online first Development and Change on 4 February 2020

This article examines the populist turn through the lens of changing social policy by relating this to the question of whether or not conservative and far right populism represent a break from, or a new mutation of, neoliberalism. Does this shift represent a conservative Polanyian double movement, or a mutation and extension of neoliberalism? This question is examined through a brief account of neoliberalism’s failures, both before and after 2008, and how conservative populism challenged it, particularly around the question of liberal social policy. In then defining and discussing neoliberalism, the article shows how conservative populism in some respects challenges it, through its focus on re-politicization in the face of technocratic and economistic de-politicization and disenchantment. But the article then demonstrates important similarities and continuities in both neoliberal theory and populist practice.

The article can be found at