Conceptualising ‘Vulnerability to Populist Narratives’. The Messianic Claim of Populist Leaders


  • Mihnea S. Stoica Babes-Bolyai University


populism, populist vulnerability, messianism, saviour, leadership, political proximity, vote advice application


Populism has grown immensely in the last decade - both as a political pheno­menon and as a research topic. The burgeoning scientific literature on populism seeks to understand its electoral success by looking into the profile of those who manifest pro­pensity towards voting for politicians and political organisations employing populism as a communication strategy. However, capturing the nuances of populism seems to be very difficult, especially in the context of the current profound societal changes. As such, we argue that scientific efforts need to look beyond what has been studied so far. Moshe Idel is a well-known scholar in the field of Jewish studies. However, his research proves to be valuable even outside his primary field of expertise. A close re-examination of Moshe Idel’s writings reveal explanations for a general frame in which the attraction towards populism can be understood. Building on Moshe Idel’s argumentation and looking into original data collected through an online interactive platform during the 2020 elections for the Romanian parliament, the current paper offers an early conceptualisation of ‘populist vulnerability’, and argues that it is primarily fed by the messianic claim of populist leaders.

Author Biography

Mihnea S. Stoica, Babes-Bolyai University

Babeș-Bolyai University, Department of Communication, Public Relations, and Adver­tising, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.






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