Associate Professor Benjamin Moffitt

Associate Professor in Politics & DECRA Fellow
National School of Arts and Humanities

Dr Benjamin Moffit

Areas of expertise: populism; democratic theory; contemporary political theory; comparative politics; political communications; political representation; visual politics

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1843-6032

Phone: +61 3 9230 8597


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Benjamin Moffitt is Associate Professor of Politics and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at the National School of Arts and Humanities, 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), and the editor of ‘Populism in Global Perspective: A Performative and Discursive Approach’ (with Pierre Ostiguy and Francisco Panizza). He has also authored numerous articles and chapters on populism in Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and the United States, as well as the theoretical and media-communicative dimensions of populism. These have appeared in journals including Political Studies and The International Journal of Press/Politics, 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 (2019-2023), 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 and The Guardian. In 2018, Benjamin was named one of ABC's inaugural Top 5 researchers in Humanities and the Social Sciences in Australia.

Visit academia

Select publications


  • Moffitt, B. (2020) Populism. (Key Concepts in Political Theory). Cambridge: Polity. Turkish translation (trans: Yasin Öner) published by Liberus and Spanish translation (trans: Elena Odriozola) with Siglo XXI Editores in 2022. Reviewed in CHOICE, Partecipazione & Conflitto, Populism
  • 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 RepresentationStanford: Stanford University Press. Turkish translation (trans: Onur Özgür) published by İletişim in 2020; Spanish translation forthcoming with Prometeo Libros; Arabic translation forthcoming with National Center for Translation, Cairo

Edited volumes

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

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Book chapters

  • Moffitt, B. (forthcoming) ‘Types of Populism’ in Manucci, L. (ed.) The Populism Interviews: A Dialogue With Leading Experts. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Ostiguy, P., Panizza, F. & Moffitt, B. (2021) ‘Introduction’ 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) ‘Who Would Identify with an ‘Empty Signifier’? The Relational, Performative Approach to Populism’ 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) ‘Conclusions: Reflections on the Lessons Learned’ 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.


  • 2019-2022 DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) (AU$379,000)
    Project title: ‘The Visual Politics of Populism’ (sole investigator). Funded by the Australian Research Council
  • 2019-2022 Wallenberg Foundation Project Grant (4.2 million SEK – AU$647,000)
    Project title: ‘Democratic Self-Defense: The Social Model’ (CI)
    With Sofia Näsström (PI), Paula Blomqvist (CI) and Anthoula Malkopoulou (CI), Uppsala University, Sweden. Funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation

Accolades and awards

  • 2018 Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) Top 5 in Humanities and Social Science - Named as one of Australia’s Top 5 young researchers in HASS. I undertook a 2-week media residency in Sydney with ABC in September.
  • 2014 Harrison Prize runner-up - UK Political Science Association. Awarded to best paper published each year in Political Studies.
  • 2011 Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship - Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Sydney. Awarded to postgraduate research students who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and research.
  • 2011 Visiting Fellow Scholarship - Funded by the Institute for Democracy & Human Rights, University of Sydney for travel and costs for a visiting fellow at the WZB (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin – Social Science Research Centre, Berlin)
  • 2010 - 2013 Australian Postgraduate Award - Funded by the Australian Government
  • 2010 - 2013 University of Sydney Merit Award - Funded by the University of Sydney – top-up to Australian Postgraduate Award for outstanding PhD researchers
  • 2010 Best Postgraduate Conference Paper - Australian Political Science Association Conference, Melbourne, 27-29 September
  • 2008 University Medal - Faculty of Arts, University of Wollongong. Awarded to highest achieving graduating Honours student in the Faculty.
  • 2008 Chancellor Robert Hope Memorial Prize for academic excellence & community service - University of Wollongong. Awarded to high-achieving graduating students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance, leadership qualities, and who have exceptionally contributed to the University and wider community.

Appointments and affiliations

  • Jan 2021 – present Associate Professor of Politics, National School of Arts, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia
  • July 2018 – Dec 2021 Senior Lecturer in Politics, National School of Arts, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Feb 2017 – Jun 2018 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Government, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Aug 2016 – Jan 2017 Lecturer (Adjunct), Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Oct 2013 – Aug 2016 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden

Editorial roles

  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Language and Politics
  • Editorial Board Member, Populism
  • Editorial Board Member, Democratic Theory
  • Editorial Board Member, Global Populisms book series, Brill Publishing
  • Committee member, Steering Committee for Melbourne Political, Social and Legal Theory Network

International journal review panel


Oxford University Press*; University of Chicago Press; Edinburgh University Press; European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) Press; and Routledge.


American Political Science Review; British Journal of Political Science; Political Studies*; Perspectives on Politics; Government and Opposition*; Environmental Politics; International Journal of Communication; Nature Human Behavior; Australian Journal of Political Science*; Social Science & Medicine; Visual Studies; International Studies Review; Review of International Studies; Acta Politica; Palgrave Communications; Canadian Journal of Political Science; Journal of Political Ideologies*; Sociological Perspectives; South European Society & Politics; Parliamentary Affairs; Philosophy East & West; Journal of Information Technology & Politics; Scandinavian Political Studies*; Journal for the Study of Radicalism; German Politics; Australian Journal of Politics & History; Democratic Theory; Journal of Political Power; Iperstoria Political Science; and Quality & Quantity (* indicates multiple reviews)

Grant agency review panel

  • Israel Science Foundation
  • EUTOPIA Science and Innovation Post Doctoral Program
  • Fund for Scientific Research (FRNS), Belgium
  • Australian Research Council
  • National Science Centre, Poland
  • European Research Council
  • Research Foundation – Flanders
  • Fulbright Commission (Czech Republic)
  • Czech Science Foundation

Public engagement

Have a


Our contacts

Have a question for a specific
team? Ask the right person.

View all contacts