Conversation: Potential for Inclusive Populist Masculinities

Outi Hakola, Janne Salminen, Oscar Winberg

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateScientific


This conversation text responds to Larry A. Swatuk’s thoughtful review of our book The Culture and Politics of Populist Masculinities (Hakola, Salminen, Turpeinen & Winberg, 2021). Swatuk inspired us to consider what inclusive populist masculinity could look like. In our conversation, we argue that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offers us a case, where the evolution of Zelenskyy’s political persona from his roots in entertainment to his presidency brings forward an inclusive gender potential. Initially challenging traditional gender norms, Zelenskyy’s early presidency sought to deconstruct hierarchical political cultures and gender assumptions. However, with the onset of the Russian invasion in 2022, his gender performances evolved towards more conventional masculinity, yet leaving room for inclusive interpretations. Zelenskyy, along with other figures, has redefined masculine archetypes in intersections of popular culture and politics, which shows that any deterministic categories to understand populist masculinities downplay the cultural complexity and varied contexts of the phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024
MoE publication typeB1 Journal article

Fields of Science

  • 6160 Other humanities
  • Populism
  • masculinity
  • popular culture
  • inclusiveness
  • gender
  • politics

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