Social exclusion and the erosion of citizenship and how it can trigger populism

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Social exclusion and the erosion of citizenship and how it can trigger populism

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As previously stated, a common notion of citizenship also implies a sense of respect and acceptance towards other members of society or group of belong regardless of their own national citizenship. Our societies are evermore face with issues of integration and multiculturalism as immigration maintains its position as a current practice amongst the modern’s populism. With this, problems such as social exclusion and the erosion of citizenship can emerge and subsequently create fertile ground for the emergence of populist movements.

Populism as a political and social phenomenon represents a claim to defend the interests of a country’s peoples against a perceived elite or establishment. A usual fallacy in this argument unveils itself as populist leaders soon proliferate the idea of defending the interest of the people who belong to a country. This allied to anti-immigration speech and policies can suscitate feelings of social exclusion and erosion of citizenship, by members of the community who might not be fully citizens of the country but are integral part of the community can begin to exacerbate feelings of discontent, marginalization, and disenfranchisement.

On the other end the same can happen for natural born citizens of country whose content regards immigrants might turn negative. All of this can fuel populist movements in the following ways:

Economic grievances:

Economic inequality and poverty can lead to economic grievances among marginalized groups. When individuals and communities feel left behind or excluded from economic opportunities given to immigrants for instances, they may turn to some populist movements that promise to address these economic grievances and restore a sense of economic security and fairness;

Political disenfranchisement:

Erosion of citizenship can lead to a sense of political disenfranchisement among certain groups. When citizens feel that their political rights, such as the right to participate in decision-making processes or the right to be heard by their elected representatives, are being undermined or ignored, they may feel marginalized and excluded from the political system. Populist movements may exploit these feelings of disenfranchisement by claiming to represent the voice of the people and offering simple solutions to complex political problems;

Cultural identity and nationalism:

Social exclusion can also manifest in the form of cultural marginalization or perceived threats to national identity. When individuals feel that their cultural or national identity is being threatened or devalued, they may seek refuge in populist movements that promise to restore or protect their cultural or national identity. Populist movements may use nationalism or nativist rhetoric to appeal to these sentiments, portraying themselves as champions of the “true” or “authentic” culture or nation against perceived threats from outsiders or elites.

Loss of social cohesion:

Social exclusion and erosion of citizenship can also weaken social cohesion within a society. When individuals and communities feel excluded or marginalized, social bonds and trust may erode, leading to divisions and polarization. Populist movements may exploit these divisions by presenting themselves as the saviors of the “real” or “true” people, and scapegoating certain groups, such as immigrants, minorities, or elites, as the source of societal problems.


It’s important to note that populist movements are complex and multifaceted, and the triggers for their emergence can vary depending on the specific context and circumstances of a given society. Social exclusion and erosion of citizenship are not the sole factors that contribute to populism, but they can be significant underlying factors that create a conducive environment for populist movements to gain support and momentum.

Social exclusion and the erosion of citizenship and how it can trigger populism
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