Ethnos and Demos.
For a Genealogy of Populism
During the last decades «populism» has become a sort of catchword both in the political and scholarly debate. Given that global transformations are calling into question the fundamentals of modern politics, the concepts of «ethnos» and «demos» can be considered a privileged point of view that can be analytically used to grasp the currently dominant view among historians and sociologists that nationalism has to be seen as a uniquely modern phenomenon established by industrialization and mass communication in the nineteenth century. The article also discusses the view of those who criticize and reject the exclusive identification of the nation with modernity. Nations emerged at a certain point in history. They form and disappear, and are therefore not «primordial» in this sense. Furthermore, the national phenomenon has evolved in history, so even the term «perennial» is insufficiently reflective of historical change. Another important question raised by the nationalism-debate has to deal with the role of religion in political life (particularly, the modern Reformation and the sacralization of nation in the post-revolutionary era). The ultimate aim of this analytical review is to propose a sort of general framework to interpret the transformations of political collective identities in the longterm perspective of Nation-building and in the context of a global society.