Speaking out: A postcolonial critique of the academic discourse on far-right populism

Ayesha Masood, Muhammad Azfar Nisar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brexit and Trump’s victory in the United States has sparked renewed academic interest in far-right populism. However, this academic discourse remains remarkably orientalist in its tenor and rhetoric. The focus of academic debates remains restricted to dissecting the rise of far-right populism in the Global North West, while similar movements in Global South East remain largely ignored. We argue that the contemporary academic discourse about the far-right populism is based on the fundamental assumption that the ‘normal’ Global North West is becoming ‘abnormal,’ while the question of abnormality or lack thereof of the proverbial Orient is not taken up because in such othering discourse, the option of normality is foreclosed to the Global South East. Using the rise of the Bharatiya Janta Party in India as an example, we contend that far-right populist movements in the Global South East have developed and intersect with businesses and government in unique ways. The embrace of neoliberalism by the Indian far-right, a stark contrast to similar movements in the Global North West, further suggests that we might be witnessing a global reorientation of the capitalist order. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of far-right populism must account for and pay attention to the heterogeneities of these movements across the Global North West and the Global South East.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-173
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Bharatiya Janta Party
  • India
  • far-right
  • populism
  • post-colonial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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