A esquerda em revolução
: populismo de esquerda e social-democracia no pós-crise financeira de 2008

  • Eduardo Miguel Álvares Pereira Lima Gonçalves (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Amongst the most widely debated themes across the world of academia, politics or the media, we will certainly find populism, generally associated with right-wing orientations and regarded as a growing threat to liberal democracies. However, the cases of Greece and Spain after 2008’s Great Recession and the Eurozone crisis show how simplistic such notion is. There, more than anywhere else in Europe, what we have witnessed was the rise of left-wing populista parties – SYRIZA and Podemos – alongside the fall of traditional socialist and social democratic parties – PASOK and PSOE – completely reshaping the balance of forces in the left. That very balance was the subject of this dissertation. Therefore, we began with the study of the populist phenomenon in general and only then proceeded to the research on left-wing populism. During that phase we tried to grasp the essence of left-wing populist parties, the causes for their success and what drives them apartfrom both right-wing populism and traditional left-wing parties. We did this mostly through the lenses of Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau’s discursive approach to populism. In a second stage, our focus were the consequences of the competition between centre-left and left-wing populist parties in terms of their electoral results, political agenda and strategy. In order to do that, we have used a wide range of methods from which we highlight the calculation of populism ratios through quantitative analysis of political speeches and manifestos. As a result, it was clear that SYRIZA and Podemos’ success did contribute to PASOK and PSOE’spoorer electoral performances. However, that very success triggered a process of populist and ideological moderation in the left-wing populist parties and a reverse process of ideological radicalisation, despite lower levels of populist rhetoric, in the social democratic parties.
Date of Award22 Jul 2021
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorNuno Sampaio (Supervisor)


  • Left-wing populism
  • Social democracy
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Great Recession


  • Mestrado em Ciência Política e Relações Internacionais: Segurança e Defesa

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