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Donald Trump, Populism and Citizenship

by Francis B. Nyamnjoh

This is a study of how Donald J. Trump, his populist credentials notwithstanding, borrows without acknowledgment and stubbornly refuses to come to terms with his indebtedness. Taken together with mobility and conviviality, the principle of incompleteness enables us to distinguish between inclusionary and exclusionary forms of populism, and when it is fuelled by ambitions of superiority and zero-sum games of conquest.

Nyamnjoh challenges the reader to reflect on how stifling frameworks of citizenship and belonging predicated upon hierarchies of humanity and mobility, and driven by a burning but elusive quest for completeness, can be constructively transcended by humility and conviviality inspired by taking incompleteness seriously. Nyamnjoh argues that the logic and practice of incompleteness is a healthy antidote to name-calling and scapegoating others as undesirable outsiders, depending on the brand of populism at play.

Recognising incompleteness also helps to question sterile and problematic binaries such as those between elites and the impoverished masses among whom populists go to fish for political visibility, prominence and success.

ISBN 9789956552870 | 416 pages | 229 x 152mm | 2022 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback


eBook ISBN: 9789956552160


"This is without doubt the most interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring book I have read on populism. Nyamnjoh not only shines new light on familiar issues, but also fundamentally changes the way we look at a debate that was at risk of becoming tired and repetitive. He persuasively argues that we cannot hope to fully get to grips with contemporary populism unless we first understand the nature of citizenship, and the fact that projects of citizenship - like our own human projects - are inherently incomplete. This turns out not only to be key to fully appreciating one of the most important political phenomena of our time, but also to resisting it. A must read."

Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham, and author of How to Rig an Election

"In this innovative, rich and penetrating analysis, Nyamnjoh reveals that at the root of populism lies a mindset unable to cope with challenges of a complex world. Taking his cue from incompleteness, mobility and conviviality, he offers an alternative approach which opens new possibilities to negotiate our increasingly interconnected existence on an ever-unfolding journey of inclusivity."

Professor Bernard C. Lategan, Founding Director, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS)

"Francis Nyamnjoh's writings, now in their fourth decade, consistently open fresh, varied and original lines of scholarship and advocacy. Belying and transcending this book's Trumpian title and content, discoveries and pleasures await below if he's new to you. They could take you to places you haven't read about or been. That's so even if it means going through the omnipresent (or lurking), ceaselessly headlined Trump, to 'get' to him, and to get to where I think Francis also wants to take us here."

Milton Krieger, Emeritus Professor, Department of Global Humanities and Religions, Western Washington University



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