SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

Populism and the Crisis of Democracy (2019 entry)

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


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Populism and the Crisis of Democracy Summer School

Programme Description

From Donald Trump to Brexit to Jair Bolsonaro to Matteo Salvini to Narendra Modi to Viktor Orbán, right-wing populism seems to be advancing relentlessly around the world. Meanwhile, already-existing authoritarian leaders like Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are tightening their grip. Protest movements have emerged in Brazil, France, India and elsewhere, from left and right, united by their loss of faith in conventional (‘neoliberal’) democracy.

Have the things we have been taught to take for granted failed? Will all societies eventually become liberal democracies, are wars, domestic strife and authoritarian governments really things of the past, will capitalism endure indefinitely and is globalisation unstoppable? Why are so many societies buckling under pressure? What role do inequality, exploitation and environmental devastation play in this malaise? Why does immigration feature so prominently in populist campaigns? Why are so many young people cynical about democracy? What role does social media play in these social conflicts? Could conventional wars become a regular feature in the international system? What utopias move the world today? And – if democracies falter, what will replace them? 

This course will address these and other burning questions of today’s world, in order to illuminate some of the most pressing economic, social and political issues of our age.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand the key social, political and economic challenges facing neoliberalism after the Great Financial Crisis.
  • Critically engage with the contemporary literatures on democracy, populism, neoliberalism and financialisation in the advanced countries as well as the Global South.
  • Engage constructively with current debates on the rise of the far-right, including those concerning the electoral impact of nationalist programmes.


Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.


For more information please complete our enquiries form

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 22 July - 9 August 2019

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Featured events

3 weeks

Tuition Fees 2019

Tuition fee:



Programme Description

Week 1: The Rise of Neoliberalism

  • 20th Century Politics and the Cold War
  • Decolonisation and Development
  • The Spread of Neoliberalism

Week 2: Maturity and Crisis in Neoliberalism

  • The Great Financial Crisis and ‘Austerity’
  • Inequality, Environmental Crisis, ISIS
  • Cultural Anxiety and Identity Politics

Week 3: Case Studies

  • Advanced economies
  • Developing countries
  • Democracy Fraying at the Edges

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact hours:

46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course will offer a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees


Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


20% discount for our partner institutions


Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2019

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer three tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2019. 

Application Deadline: 2019-04-12 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Click to apply

Entry Requirements

In order to join the Academic Summer School, students should meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • Participants must be 18 or over at the time of attendance.
  • Fluency in English language is recommended for non-credit courses, but essential for SOAS Accredited courses. Proficiency can be demonstrated through:
  • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
  • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
  • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
  • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university. 
  • If you are unsure whether you meet the above entry requirements, please contact us to discuss your application.

Enrolment of applicants who do not meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us about your application and we will be happy to help. 

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

Applications now accepted on a rolling basis for all courses

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