Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 2, No 2 (2013)

The Happy Gardener: on populism, democracy and specters

Julián A. Melo


The present text aims to retake several aspects and debates concerning the relation between populism and democracy. We will expound the main ideas by authors such as Margaret Canovan, Benjamín Arditi and Sebastián Barros in order to rethink the bonds between both terms. We will try not to take populism and democracy as antithetical poles in communitary political associations, since we are interested in pointing out how the ideas of shadow and specter have been crucial in the thought of these authors. Along with this reflection we seek to revisit several discursive keys of the experience of first Peronism in twentieth-century Argentina, just to investigate the ways in which the logic of Peronist populism rethought democracy and set it as a central element of the identity that it claimed to embody. Thus, we think that may be interesting not just to think populism as a specter of democracy but also to think democracy as a specter of populism.