Authoritarian Populism and Hegemony: Constructing ‘the People’ in Macedonia’s illiberal discourse

By: 
  • Ljupcho Petkovski
This paper is a theoretically driven case study of the authoritarian populist reign of VMRO-DPMNE and its leader Nikola Gruevski in Macedonia since 2006. At the beginning, I assess the strengths and identify the pitfalls of the dominant approach to studying populism that sees populist politics as democratic illiberalism. Then I argue that this approach should be complemented with a discourse theoretical methodology that renders us more sensitive to the diachronic dimensions of the rise of Gruevski’s populism and its origins. The crucial concept I use to account for the durability of Gruvski’s reign is hegemony, which helps us to understand two important aspects of his populism.