The world is in the grip of profound political and social change. Leaders are rising to power who promise to respond to the voice of the people – people who are aggrieved and resentful, feeling the sting of inequality and the uncertainty of a new economic order. As the global economy continues to change, disruption and reaction become inevitable. As trust is further eroded, the desire to lash out is understandable.
The populist response to the times is essentially emotional – promising to alleviate the symptoms of distress, while encouraging others to fester. If betrayal and disillusion are inevitable, they remain some way off – an accommodating new order will take time to be established.
Griffith Review 57: The Perils of Populism will look at the rise of populism across the world. It features several writers who won the Griffith Review Queensland Writers Fellowships, and will explore the nuances of populism past and present – building a conscience, confronting sexual abuse, addressing climate-change deniers, navigating an obstructive bureaucracy, coming face-to-face with religious cults and discovering the enduring kindness of strangers.
This is a global phenomenon – populist sentiment is alive and flourishing in both the richest and poorest countries in the world. This edition of Griffith Review, edited by Julianne Schultz and Anne Tiernan, will bring new perspectives and insights to this troubling phenomenon.