Eva Illouz has been commenting on the inner emotional constitution of our Western society for decades. In our Israel series, she addresses the deeper understanding of populism. To present its emotional appeal as a source of general insecurity in liberal society seems unhelpful to her, because "emotions and politics are always inescapably linked." When contemporary populism attacks the idea of truth, facts, and expertise, while at the same time turning against the establishment and elites, fomenting fear and anger against immigrants and uncertain future prospects, Illouz believes it is too easy to pillory the negative emotionality that arises in the process. According to Illouz, populism is the emotional response to the rationality of classical liberalism, whose core principle is enlightened discussion - and yet she sees hope for an enlightened future precisely in this.
Prof. Dr. Eva Illouz researches and teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on emotions, capitalism, culture, communication, and cultural aspects of their intersections. In 2018, she was awarded the EMET Prize in Sociology.
In the series Israel
From Fear to Resentment
The Emotional Politics of Populism