The Good, the Bad or the Ugly? Populism in Croatia is a thorough study of populism, a prominent concept in politics in the encounter with which, due to the lack of systematic scientific and professional papers on populism in Croatia, domestic analysts and media have almost no idea what to consult. Marijana Grbeša and Berto Šalaj, top political scientists and university professors, share their insights into the nature of populism and open up space for more effective and more consistent research on the presence, intensity and types of populism in Croatian politics. The Good, the Bad or the Ugly? focuses mainly on the ideological approach to populism that deals with the ideas placed at the center of every populist party or movement, and on the ambivalent relationship between populism and liberal democracy.

The first chapter focuses the origin of the concept of populism and its use since the end of the 19th century. The second chapter gives an overview of modern understanding of populism, while in the third chapter an inclusive approach to populism is presented, as a political-communicative style and as a "weak" political ideology, bearing in mind several levels of use of the very term populism. The chapters Four and Five outline the most important insights taken from the literature dealing with types of populism and causes of its rise in different parts of the world. The sixth chapter talks about the so-called populist journalism and the role of media in strengthening populists. Chapter Seven refers to the central research question of this book - is populism present in Croatian politics? The operationalization of populism, research design and matrix, are presented by using the inclusive approach, based on which three recent populism researches were conducted in Croatia. In the eighth chapter, the ambivalent relationship of populism towards liberal democracy is analyzed, while the closing chapter summarizes the most important conceptual, methodological and empirical notions and points out possible directions of future populism research in Croatia.

Marijana Grbeša was born in Zadar. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb, from the London School of Economics and Political Science in London, and received her Ph. D. at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. She works as s professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb where she teaches courses in Political Marketing, Media Research Methods, Media and Public and Pop Politics. She was in charge of Science and International Co-operation at the Faculty of Political Science, and worked as a Croatian representative at the European Social Survey Science Project Advisory Board, as well as a member of the EU Negotiating Team for Science and Research. Grbeša is the author of a series of scientific papers in the field of political communication, political marketing and media published in Croatia and abroad. She is also author of dozens of political analyses published in Croatian media and a co-author of a number of international projects dealing with political communication and populism. She spent several years in training in the United States, Great Britain and Germany.


Berto Šalaj was born in Slavonski Brod. He graduated and obtained his Ph. D. at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb where he is employed as an associate professor of political science. Šalaj teaches political science and journalism studies through classes of Political Socialization and Political Education, and Democracy and Civil Society. Šalaj has published several scientific and professional books, studies and articles dealing with issues of political culture, social capital, democracy, civic education and populism. He is a co-author of several international projects dealing with populism and some of his most acclaimed works are Socijalni kapital: Hrvatska u komparativnoj perspektivi (2007), studies Socijalno povjerenje u Bosni i Hercegovini (2009) and Croatia's Captured Places: Case Studies on the Quality of Local Governance in Croatia (2017), as well as articles „Novi program građanskog odgoja i obrazovanja u hrvatskim školama: početak ozbiljnog rada na razvoju demokratske političke kulture ili smokvin list ministarstva?“ (2015) and „Kako mladi stječu političko znanje? Analiza čimbenika političke pismenosti hrvatskih maturanata“ (2016).

  • ISBN: 978-953-8075-45-2
  • Dimensions: 142x205 mm
  • Number of pages: 312
  • Cover: paperback
  • Year of the edition: 2018

As the analysis in this book shows, Croatia is not immune to populism and the risks it carries. Its citizens and politicians must learn how to overcome those dangers, recognizing the weaknesses in their democracy, and create solutions that will help avoid the most destructive effects of populism. This book is also a reminder that scientific research can provide solutions to these challenges, especially when scientists collaborate and share their knowledge.

Kirk A. Hawkins

The authors of the book, using the insights of other authors, offer their conceptualization and methodology of populism research and present the results of research of the presence, intensity and types of populism in Croatian politics. Their approach offers an interesting methodological innovation of combining theoretical and empirical analysis. The Good, the Bad or the Ugly? will certainly stimulate future research of populism and other similar phenomena.

Pero Maldini

This book, the first of its kind in our country, analyzes populism thoroughly and systematically as a phenomenon of contemporary politics and maps the phenomena of political populism in Croatia, offering very interesting methodological solutions for analyzing populist discourse. Authors conceptualize populism at two levels - as an ideology and as a political-communicative style - which is a particular novelty.

Nenad Zakošek