Keywords: Political Economy; Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems; Economic Sociology.
The contribution frames and analyses the phenomenon of populism starting from the other essays of the present Stato e Mercato issue. In particular, it underlines the difficulties in finding a specific and clear-cut definition of populism, but at the same time it adopts a general framework in order to assess different types of populism. Moreover, it argues that the rise of populist parties and a «populist» social demand has to be framed within each variety of capitalism and democracy in order to assess its peculiar characteristics. It is argued in the paper that, among other issues, populism represents a deep critique nad challenge to the concept of political and socio-economic representation.