Staff Directory

Assoc. Prof. Benjamin Moffitt Name: Assoc. Prof. Benjamin Moffitt
Associate Professor, Politics and International Relations
+613 9230 8597
Organisational Area
Faculty of Education and Arts
Social Sciences (VIC)
Arts Precinct(Bldg.412 - 34-36 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065)-Ground-RoomG.04
Biographical Information

Benjamin Moffitt is Associate Professor of Politics and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at the National School of Arts, ACU (Melbourne). His research is located at the intersection of comparative politics, contemporary political theory and political communications, and focuses on contemporary populism across the globe. 

Benjamin joined ACU in 2018. Prior to this, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Uppsala University and Stockholm University, Sweden. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2014, and his BA (Hons) from the University of Wollongong. He has been a visiting researcher at the WZB (Berlin Social Science Centre) and University of Toronto, and is an associate of the Sydney Democracy Network and Uppsala University's Department of Government.

Benjamin is the author of three books on populism: 'Populism' (Polity, 2020), 'Political Meritocracy and Populism: Curse or Cure?' (with Mark Chou & Octavia Bryant, Routledge, 2020), and 'The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation' (Stanford University Press, 2016). He is also the co-editor of 'Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach' (with Pierre Ostiguy & Fracisco Panizza, Routledge, 2021). He has also authored numerous articles and chapters on populism in Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe, as well as the theoretical and media-communicative dimensions of populism. These have appeared in journals including Political Studies and Government & Opposition, and in collections such as The Oxford Handbook of Populism.

Benjamin is currently working on two major projects. The first, funded by the Australian Research Council (2019-2022), is entitled 'The Visual Politics of Populism', and comparatively examines how populists use visual media and how visual media covers populists across the globe. It aims to develop a broader theoretical understanding of the linkages between populism, aesthetics and democracy. 

The second, funded by the MM Wallenberg Foundation (2019-2022), is entitled 'Democratic Self-Defense: The Social Model', and is a collaboration with former colleagues at Uppsala University, Sofia Näsström, Paula Blomqvist and Anthoula Malkopoulou. This project examines how democracy can be defended in times of political discontent and democratic instability, with a particular focus on the role of social integration and welfare as opposed to militant or liberal approaches.

Benjamin is also a frequent commentator in the Australian and international press, and his work has appeared in outlets such as The Economist, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Bloomberg News, The Conversation, the ABC, and the BBC World Service. In 2018, Benjamin was named one of ABC's inaugural Top 5 researchers in Humanities and the Social Sciences in Australia.



Moffitt, B. (2020) Populism. Cambridge: Polity (Turkish translation with Liberus and Spanish translation with Siglo XXI Editores).

Chou, M., Moffitt, B. & Bryant, O. (2020) Political Meritocracy and Populism: Cure or Curse? Abingdon: Routledge.

Moffitt, B. (2016) The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation. Stanford: Stanford University Press (Turkish translation with Iletsim).


Edited Volumes

Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (eds.) (2021) Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach. Abingdon: Routledge.


Journal Articles

Moffitt, B. (2022) 'How Do Populists Visually Represent 'The People'? A Systematic Comparative Visual Content Analysis of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders' Instagram Accounts'International Journal of Press/Politics,

Kefford, G., Moffitt, B. & Werner, A. (2022) 'Nativism, Civic Nationalism and the Malleability of Voter Attitudes', Acta Politica,

Chou, M., Moffitt, B. & Busbridge, R. (2021) 'The Localist Turn in Populism Studies'Swiss Political Science Review,

Moffitt, B. (2021) 'How Do Mainstream Parties Become Mainstream, and Pariah Parties Become Pariahs? Conceptualising the Processes of Mainstreaming and Pariahing in the Labelling of Political Parties', Government and Opposition,

Kefford, G., Moffitt, B. & Werner, A. 'Populist Attitudes: Bringing Together Ideational and Communicative Approaches'. Political Studies,

Busbridge, R., Moffitt, B. & Thorburn, J. (2020) 'Cultural Marxism: Far-right conspiracy theory in Australia's culture wars', Social Identities, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 722-738.

De Cleen, B., Moffitt, B., Panayotu, P. & Stavrakakis, Y. (2020) 'The Potentials and Difficulties of Transnational Populism: the Case of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25)' Political Studies, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 146-166.

Moffitt, B. (2018) 'The Populism/Anti-Populism Divide in Western Europe'Democratic Theory, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 1-16.

Moffitt, B. (2017) 'Liberal Illiberalism? The Reshaping of the Contemporary Populist Radical Right in Northern Europe', Politics and Governance, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 112-122.

Moffitt, B. (2017) 'Transnational Populism? Representative Claims, Media and the Difficulty of Constructing a Transnational 'People", Javnost: The Public, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 409-425.

Moffitt, B. (2015) 'How to Perform Crisis: A Model for Understanding the Key Role of Crisis in Contemporary Populism', Government and Opposition, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 189-217.

Moffitt, B. & Tormey, S. (2014) 'Rethinking Populism: Politics, Mediatisation and Political Style', Political Studies, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 381-397 (runner-up for 2014 UK Political Science Association Harrison Prize, Chinese translation published in Foreign Theoretical Trends, 2016, No. 10, pp. 27-38).

Snow, D. & Moffitt, B. (2012) 'Straddling the Divide: Mainstream Populism and Conservatism in Howard's Australia and Harper's Canada', Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 271-292.

Book Chapters

Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (2021) &lsquoIntroduction&rsquo in Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (eds.) Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 1- 18.

Ostiguy, P. & Moffitt, B. (2021) &lsquoWho Would Identify with an &lsquoEmpty Signifier&rsquo? The Relational, Performative Approach to Populism&rsquo in Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (eds.) Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 47-72.

Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (2021) &lsquoConclusions: Reflections on the Lessons Learned&rsquo in Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (eds.) Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 255-274.

Moffitt, B. (2019) 'Populism & Media in Western Europe' in de la Torre, C. (ed.) The Routledge International Handbook of Global Populism. London & New York: Routledge, pp. 235-248.

Moffitt, B. (2018) 'Populism 2.0, Social Media and the False Allure of 'Unmediated' Representation' in Mackert, J, Turner, B.S. & Fitzi, G. (eds.) Populism and the Crisis of Democracy, vol. 2. London & New York: Routledge, pp. 30-46.

Moffitt, B. (2019) 'Populism versus Technocracy: Performance, Passion & Aesthetics' in Cossarini, P. & Vallespin Ona, F. (eds.) Populism and Passions: Democratic Legitimacy After Austerity. London & New York: Routledge, pp. 49-64.

Moffitt, B. (2017) 'Populism in Australia and New Zealand' in Rovira Kaltwasser, C., Taggart, P., Ochoa Espejo, P. & Ostiguy, P. (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Populism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 121-139.

Moffitt, B. (2015) 'Contemporary Populism and 'The People' in the Asia-Pacific: Thaksin Shinawatra and Pauline Hanson' in de la Torre, C. (ed.) The Promise and Perils of Populism: Global Perspectives. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, pp. 293-316.

Other publications

Moffitt, B. (2018) 'Populism and its relationship with social media' 30 minute radio documentary produced for Future Tense, Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Company, first aired 25 November.

Moffitt, B. (2016) 'The Performative Turn in the Comparative Study of Populism', American Political Science Association Comparative Politics Newsletter, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 52-58.

Moffitt, B. (2015) New Zealand country profile, Interactive Global Map of Populism, POPULISMUS: Populist Discourse and Democracy, University of Thessaloniki.

Moffitt, B. (2015) Thailand country profile, Interactive Global Map of Populism, POPULISMUS: Populist Discourse and Democracy, University of Thessaloniki.

Moffitt, B. (2011) Review of Benjamin Arditi's Politics on the Edges of Liberalism in Political Studies Review, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 67.



Comparative politics

Democratic theory

Contemporary political theory

Political communications

Political representation

Visual politics


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