Populism, Immigration and Liberal Democracies: Inherent Instability or Tipping of the Balance?

This presentation will explore how challenging questions and tensions caused by migrants and their universalist claims for inclusion, have been approached and resolved in liberal democracies. By regarding the development of populism as a real and dangerous political phenomenon that has significant traction, I will examine whether populism adds something new and distinctive to the existing approach and resolution. With reference to the requirement that the state has to provide justifications for measures that affect individuals, I will explore how the tensions between exclusion versus inclusion and particularism versus cosmopolitanism, have been adjusted. My conclusion is that the adjustment has been in favour of exclusion and particularism. The concern that arises is that populism might further shape this adjustment to the point where the balance is completely tipped in favour of exclusion and statism.