A marriage of convenience: responsive populists and responsible experts

Petra Guasti, Lenka Buštíková

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This thematic issue, “Varieties of Technocratic Populism around the World,” investigates ideological origins of technocratic populism and situates it among other types of populism. It is composed of 11 articles that bring together 18 scholars from around the world with a wide variety of perspectives. Technocratic populism is an output-oriented populism that directly links voters to leaders via expertise. It emerges as a response to a crisis of governance, reproaches mainstream parties for it and offers solutions that challenge traditional left–right divisions in politics. New leaders combine populism with tech-nocracy: They offer expertise, often harnessed in business, but also a direct, personalized link to ‘ordinary’ citizens. Above all, they politicize expertise to gain legitimacy. Technocratic populism primarily responds to frustrations of the electorate with poor governance, not to nativist grievances or to the plight of the most vulnerable citizens. In a new social contract, it is expected that voters renounce politics and political parties and that they turn into spectators who observe how technocratic elites adopt solutions that benefit the ‘ordinary people.’ Technocratic populism is a growing challenge to pluralistic forms of representative democracy and calls for further scholarly attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-472
Number of pages5
JournalPolitics and Governance
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Expertise
  • Governance
  • Grievance
  • Pandemic
  • Populism
  • Technocracy
  • Technocratic populism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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