Populism is the term which dominates every political and public discussion nowadays. However, what does one mean by "populism"? A movement? An ideology? A strategy? A communicative model? A dimension? Is populism something unitary, or is it liable to be divided into the classic political categories of right, centre and left, progressive and reactionary? The questions around this word seem to be endless. Also historical sciences are starting to wonder about this word. Can populism be an historic category, or not? Does a history of populism exist, and, if yes, is it a history of political movements or a history of ideas? This contribution tries to reconstruct the origin and the development of the studies of populism, the several attempts to categorize them made in the course of time by human and social sciences, and their links to the different historical periods in which they were produced, trying to arrange a discussion which is more open than ever.
Keywords: Populismo, populista, momento, ideologia, movimento, dimensione.