A Resilient Hegemonic Project? the Ideological Cleavages and Convergence Against ‘Populism’ of Key Actors across the Power Bloc in Denmark

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In this paper, we analyse the key ideological position of key actors in the Danish power block. Based on 38 in-depth interviews with individuals holding core positions in elite networks, we explore the core ideological project that unites interlocked corporate directors, union leaders, business association executives, senior civil servants, professors and politicians in a coordinated market economy. The interviewees were sampled so all hold central positions in the elite network, but at the same time occupy the most divergent positions of those integrated in power elite networks.
We show a hegemonic project tied to ‘the extreme center’. Populism and radical political parties are frowned upon, while even corporate leaders support moderate income distribution and a continuation of relative egalitarianism. We show how populism in the case of corporatist elites is constructed as a pathological element in democratic politics. Elites forcefully renounce other elites who cave in to the asserted allure of populism. We show how elites access the credibility and seriousness of others based on whether or not they refrain for using ‘populist’ rhetoric, in particular anti-EU, xenophobic, anti-globalization, anti-capitalist discourse.
We finish the paper looking at how elites construct key contemporary societal challenges, highlighting how these are understood in ways in which the current power block may have to adapt, but not change fundamentally. We discuss the paradox of elites not linking these challenges to the rise of populism, but instead view populism as an externality to current societal developments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSASE 32nd Annual Conference 2020 - Virtual: Development Today: Accumulation, Surveillance, Redistribution - Virtual, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 18 Jul 202021 Jul 2021
Conference number: 32


ConferenceSASE 32nd Annual Conference 2020 - Virtual
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