Zur Rationalität der Gefühle in Zeiten des Populismus


  • Lucas von Ramin TU-Dresden


This paper discusses the relationship between emotions and rationality in the current debate about populism from the perspective of radical democracy. In response to the diagnosis of post-democracy and political apathy, the task was to help revitalize democracy, including through the deliberate elicitation of emotions. Using insights from Laclau`s and Mouffe`s political theories, two strategies are proposed, a strategy of indignation and a strategy of trust. By linking both strategies to the current discourse on the rationality of emotions, both conceptions can be differentiated in a new way. Accordingly, it is not just the issue of negative versus positive emotions, but the emotions also differ in their degree of activation and mobilization and thus the potential of their strategic use. This difference finally forms the basis for analyzing the radical democratic potential of populism. A comparison of left and right populisms should show that their difference can also be shown in dealing with the strategies described. Thus, the question arises why the one-sided thematization of negative emotions in the radical democratic discourse remains dominant.