1 Introduction to Populism The rise of populism is one of the defining features of our age Populism can be labeled as either authoritarian or democratic movements It is often critical of political representation and anything that negotiates the relation between the government and the people Populists seek to defend the interest and expand the power of ordinary people through reform rather than revolution Murno 2015 Populism is defined as a thin centered ideology that focuses on the opposition between the elites and people against the backdrop of popular sovereignty Firstly populism is malleable in the real world it seldom exists in pure form but rather in a combination with other concepts or ideology Secondly its rise growth and failure both the demand and supply side of populist politics must be taken into consideration Economic crises and growing political distrust could be the conditions for the rise of populism Lastly the diffusion of populism in what way or under what circumstances can populism spread from one society to another On the demand side it is known as a demonstration effect where people in one country are familiar of political developments in neighboring countries while on the other hand following the supply side influence of the populist ideology gains a presence in political parties and or social movements Freeden Stears 2013 Populism is neither right nor left but populists can be either left or right or even centrist Right wing populism favors small groups and inequality This can also take the form of protectionism nativism nationalism and xenophobia which may appear to be activist social conservatism or even fascism
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On the other hand the left wing populism favors equality and big groups This can take the form of socially minded globalization and socially minded welfare state These may appear to be as progressive social liberalism social democracy or even socialism DeMichele 2017 Both left and right wing populism share common ideology but differ in how social issues are being tackled Both create a powerful and strong discourse through the people Provide people with hope with the belief that things could be different To mitigate the rise of populist movements the governments allow for democratic participation from the public This essay talks about one example of this democratic participation through socially engaged art and whether socially engaged art indeed fosters healthy democratic participation or allows the growth of populism 2 Democratic Participation Democratic participation is the act of influencing the behaviour of those in power of decision making It creates opportunities for everyone to make important contributions for better decision making and strengthening the politicians liability to the people It helps to form strong democratic parliaments which in return establish peace development and respect for human rights worldwide Everyone has both the right and the responsibility to take part in democracy This consists of formal participation such as voting or standing for election and informal involvement such as being aware of public affairs political conversations including through social media platforms and showing tolerance for views that disagree from your own Public authorities have the responsibility of providing education information and encouragement for democratic participation
The challenges of public engagement with democracy differ widely from country to country Casting a vote every few years is no longer sufficient people want more democratic participation with the political institutions they elect In the recent years we have witnessed the low levels of public trust in their governments and also loss of public interest in politics These demonstrates why governments must listen and engage with their fellow citizens accommodate their needs and make the effort to meet them The transparency of the government and their regard for human rights and civil society largely affect the people s ability to partake in democracy It is imperative that this democratic participation allow for varied opinions and is void of prejudice There is no standard solution to establish meaningful democratic participation Political leaders must include citizens and build partnerships with them
Accessibility is key to a democratic parliament and it is done so by including the public in parliamentary issues and assuring the people that their involvement will affect the verdicts and political results Inter Parliamentary Union 2015 3 Can Art Foster Democratic Participation Many would ask how do the arts such as theater dance cinema or painting relate to democracy How do these art forms pertain to politics The answer is that they have a lot in common and the partnership of the arts and politics can yield some very favourable outcomes The arts revolve around emotion while democracy correlates to politics and rational decision making However the line between pragmatism and emotion is not always straightforward Art and politics are not about manipulating feelings to produce political effects it is about activating emotion to gain the heart of the people and make them feel that they are part of the community Participation in democracy is often recognized together with voting either to elect representatives or to make a decision in a referendum Voting is the icon of democracy but it is the least important aspect The significant things that affect the whole of the citizenship are the contrast of arguments debates the sharing of different opinions to create proposals or to make contributions to certain public actions To assist in the progress in these types of actions the arts are extremely useful to this democratic journey In Barcelona there has been a rise of citizen participation in production of small plays documentary filming organizing photographic exhibitions dancing and poem readings Mural paintings have generally been used to express feelings or ideas on how to improve the neighborhoods or the city The mixture of arts and democratic participation can have a lot of impact on the places where they take place and on the people who are a part of them And that can help to build a higher level of communal collaboration Sanchez 2017
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