The “Establishment”, the “Élites”, and the “People”

Who’s who?
Ruth Wodak 
Lancaster University/University Vienna
In this paper, I discuss the attempt by all right-wing populist parties to create,on the one hand, the ‘real’ and ‘true’ people; and on the other, the ‘élites’ or the ‘establishment’ who are excluded from the true demos. Such divisions, as will beelaborated in detail, have emerged in many societies over centuries and decades.A brief example of the arbitrary construction of opposing groups illustrates the intricacies of such populist reasoning. Furthermore, I pose the question whysuch divisions resonate so well in many countries? I argue that – apart from a politics of fear  (Wodak 2015) – much resentment  is evoked which could be viewed as both accompanying as well as a reaction to the disenchantment withpolitics and the growing inequalities in globalized capitalist societies.

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