ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Michael Zürn

On invitation from GLOBUS, Professor Michael Zürn will present the paper 'The social origins of silent majorities' on 24 April 2018.


On the one hand, the ideology behind authoritarian populism is illiberal in the sense that it questions individual and especially minority rights. On the other hand, many populists declare to bring the normal people and silent majorities back into power and challenge those liberal elites who do not care about the “ordinary (white) man on the street”. In this paper, it is argued that the appeal of the specter to “the majority” has a substantial base indeed. It is hard to deny that the link between cosmopolitan decision makers and the local people has weakened in the last decades. This paper aims at explaining the social and institutional origins of silent majorities, and what has brought many people to believe that the will of the majority does not count in Western democracies any longer.

Download the paper (restricted access)

Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.

Published Dec. 20, 2017 11:46 AM - Last modified Apr. 16, 2018 3:45 PM