Thousands of people attended a peaceful protest march at Independence Square for constitutional change of power in Minsk, Belarus on August 23, 2020. Photo: Dmitry Kalinovsky.

Mapping European Populism – Panel #7: Populist parties/actors and far-right movements in the Baltic countries and Belarus

Date/Time: Thursday, December 15, 2022 — 15:00-17:00 (CET)

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Moderator

Dr Andres Kasekamp (Professor at Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy).

Speakers

“The legacy of the post-communist transformation in the agenda of Lithuanian populist parties,” by Dr Jogilė Ulinskaitė (Researcher at Institute of International Relations and Political Science).

“A blossoming tree: The origins and present-day of the Estonian populist radical right,” by Dr Mari-Liis Jakobson (Associate Professor of Political Sociology at Tallinn University).

“What attracts people to populism in Latvia?” by Dr Aleksandra Kuczyńska-Zonik (Head of the Baltic Department at the Institute of Central Europe / Catholic University of Lublin). 

“Is populism in decline in Belarus?” by Dr Tatsiana Kulakevich (Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida’s School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies).

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Far-right supporters clash with riot police during a protest against Marrakesh Migration Pact in Brussels, Belgium on December 16, 2018. Photo: Alexandros Michailidis.

Mapping European Populism — Panel #6: Populist radical right/left parties and far-right movements in Benelux countries and Switzerland (Nov.24, 2022)

Date/Time: Thursday, November 24, 2022 — 15:00-17:00 (CET)

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Moderator

Dr Hans-Georg Betz (Professor of political science at the University of Zurich).

Speakers

“The state of the far right in Belgium: a contrasted situation” by Dr Benjamin Biard (Researcher at the Center for socio-political research and information (CRISP) and guest lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain).

“Right-wing populism in Luxembourg: An exception to the rule?”  by Dr Paul Carls (Researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research).

The mainstreaming of populism in the Netherlands,  by Dr Carola Schoor (Programme Leader for Public Affairs at the Centre for Professional Learning (CPL), Leiden University).

Populist discourses in Switzerland,” by Dr Alina Dolea (Associate Professor in Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy, Bournemouth University).

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Photo: Melinda Nagy.

ECPS Youth Seminars – From Trance to Identity Rock: Music and Far-right Manipulation

Date/Time: Monday, November 14, 2022 / 18:00 (CET)

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Moderator

Celia Miray Yesil

Speaker

Dr Heidi Hart

This talk will explore the wide range of musical genres and styles used in populist and particularly far-right propaganda in European context. From feel-good folk songs appealing to young people in Germany to nationalist mehter band music in Turkey and “identity rock” and political chants in Italy, musical forms that appeal to a sense of belonging, heritage, and ressentiment are especially powerful when they hook into embodied cultural associations. Dr Heidi Hart will illustrate the phenomenon of “entrainment” or rhythmic synchronization between body and sound, as well as culturally dependent forms of sonic association that take on new ideological meanings in a world veering toward authoritarianism. Because music can reach the body more directly than text by itself, it is an effective tool for manipulation, especially among young people who are still forming a sense of purpose and identity.

Dr Heidi Hart is an arts researcher based in Denmark and in North Carolina, US. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. in German Studies from Duke University (2016). Her research focus ranges from ideology in words and music to sound and music in environmental art. She has published monographs on Hanns Eisler’s activist art songs and on music in climate-crisis narrative, as well as numerous articles on sound in environmental art, film, and literature. Her book Climate Thanatology was published in August 2022. Dr Hart serves as an Art and Humanities Research Fellow at SixtyEight Art Institute in Copenhagen and as a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow in the Environment & Climate sector of the European Center for Populism Studies. In 2022-23 she will complete the research project, “Instruments of Repair,” with Crawford Foundation funding through the Centre for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden.

Celia Miray Yesil is a master’s student of International Political Economy at Warwick University. Her undergraduate degree was in European Politics at King’s College London, where she studied the historical background of Europe in the global context. Miray is interested in the impact of far-right populism on foreign policy, the political language of populist leaders, and its political economy.

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Chess-Map

‘Talk Series on Sharp Power’ jointly organized by ECPS, ADI and Deakin University

Sharp Power is a new concept that emphasizes the policy transition from “soft” to “hard” in a global/local context. The European Centre for Populism Studies (Brussels), in collaboration with the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization (ADI), and Deakin University (Melbourne), is proud to announce a new Talk Series on the topic of Sharp Power.

Registration

Public and cultural diplomacy are hugely employed by global powers to project their soft powers. In the hands of autocratic regimes, these concepts have been instrumentalized to serve autocratic interests. Such autocratic regimes have widely used the concepts of public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy to achieve their foreign policy objectives.

Sharp Power is a new concept that emphasizes the policy transition from “soft” to “hard” in a global/local context. Chris Walker and Jessica Ludwig defined sharp power as authoritarian influence techniques used by countries such as China and Russia that, while not openly coercive, are also not “soft.”

The European Centre for Populism Studies (Brussels), in collaboration with the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization (ADI), and Deakin University (Melbourne), is proud to announce a new Talk Series on the topic of Sharp Power. These series aim to explore and broaden the existing scholarship on ‘sharp power,’ an innovative and emerging field of research. 

Having found a gap between the concepts of hard- and soft-power, scholars from across many disciplines have sought to dissect the authoritarian regimes’ new and harmful tactics and activities in third countries. Thus, the concept of sharp power is developed to frame harmful transnational activities of some certain, authoritarian powers, predominantly coming from countries like Russia and China. This growing scholarship has the additional vocation to alert liberal democracies against the subversive activities of authoritarian regimes who are hostile to democratic institutions and values that they seem as existential threats to their ‘authoritarian values’ and stability of their regimes.

The talk series will make up of eight live-streamed seminars every Wednesday starting from October until mid-December. The live streams will be also published on the YouTube channel. During the sessions, theoretical background, country contexts (China and Russia), European and Asian cases, impacts on digital environment, and human rights perspectives will be held by distinguished experts in the field. 

 

Event I – Seminar

Christopher Walker: “Authoritarian mobilization and sharp power”

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 / 12:00 (CET)

China, Russia, and other countries ruled by repressive regimes have dramatically scaled up their investment into spheres commonly associated with soft power, including into media, education, technology, and entertainment. Most free societies are still not adequately prepared to meet the multidimensional sharp-power strategies applied by China, Russia, and like-minded states. Open societies will be vulnerable so long as they maintain a blind spot about the compromising and corrosive aspects of such forms of authoritarians’ outward-facing influence.

Christopher Walker is Vice President for Studies and Analysis at the National Endowment for Democracy, an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. In this capacity, he oversees the department that is responsible for NED’s multifaceted analytical work. Prior to joining the NED, Walker was Vice President for Strategy and Analysis at Freedom House. Walker has testified before legislative committees, appears regularly in the media, and frequently conducts briefings on critical issues relating to democratic development.

Walker has been at the forefront of the discussion on authoritarian influence on democratic systems. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and the Journal of Democracy. He is co-editor (with Larry Diamond and Marc Plattner) of the edited volume Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy (2016), and co-editor (with Jessica Ludwig) of the reports Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence (2017), and Sharp Power and Democratic Resilience (2021). His article, “Rising to the Sharp Power Challenge,” appears in the October 2022 issue of the Journal of Democracy.

 

Event II – Seminar

 

Gavin Wilde: “Russia’s information warfare as regime insecurity”

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 / 11:00 (CET)

If a unified theory of Russian information warfare exists, its core tenet might well be its historic indivisibility from regime security in Russian strategic thought. Rather than as an aggressive or expansionist expression of Moscow’s foreign policy, the Kremlin’s “information war” should primarily be viewed through a domestic political and security prism—as much a counterinsurgency as an expeditionary strategy, less an escalation than a projection.

Gavin Wilde is a senior fellow in the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he applies his expertise on Russia and information warfare to examine the strategic challenges posed by cyber and influence operations, propaganda, and emerging technologies. He previously served on the US National Security Council, and in analytic and leadership roles in the US intelligence community for 15 years—including as a coauthor of the IC assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. He is also an adjunct lecturer on information conflict at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

 

Event III – Seminar

 

Julia Bader: “The Chinese Communist Party’s international networks”

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 / 11:00 (CET)

The talk addresses a largely overlooked actor in China’s foreign relations, the International Department of the Communist Party of China. Building on an intense travel diplomacy, the ID-CPC maintains a widely stretched network topolitical elites across the globe. The ID-CPC’s engagement is not new; but since Xi Jinping took office, the CPC has bolstered its efforts to reach out to other parties. Party relations not only serve as an additional channel to advance China’s foreign policy interests. Since President Xi has come to power, party relations also emerged as a key instrument to promote China’s vision for reforming the global order. Moreover, China increasingly uses the party channel as a vehicle of authoritarian learning by sharing experiences of its economic modernization and authoritarian one-party regime. The cross-regional analysis of the CPC’s engagement with other parties helps us to better understand the role of the CPC in Chinese foreign policymaking, pointing to a new research agenda at the intersection of China’s foreign relations, authoritarian diffusion, and transnational relations.

Julia Bader is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. Before joining UvA in July 2012, she worked as a research fellow at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn (Germany). Dr Bader holds a MA in Politics and Management from Konstanz University and a PhD in Political Science from Heidelberg University.

Dr Bader’s research focuses on China’s foreign relations, regime transition and autocratic stability, international relations and foreign policy, development assistance and human rights. Dr Bader is the author of the monograph China’s Foreign Relations and the Survival of Autocracies which has been published with Routledge. Her work has appeared in academic journals such as International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Peace Research, Foreign Policy Analysis, Democratization, International Studies Review, Contemporary Politics, and in several collective book projects. Her research on the Chinese Communist Party’s International Department has been featured in The Economist and in the South China Morning Post. She has been interviewed for the VPRO’s Tegenlicht Future Shock Podcast (in Dutch).

 

Event IV – Seminar

 

Vincent Charles Keating: “Sharp Power, or something more? Conceptualizing Russian influence beyond ‘unwanted flows of information’”

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 / 11:00 (CET)

Sharp power is one of several recent attempts to conceptualize the influence that illiberal states have on liberal states. Characterized as not ‘hard power,’ involving direct military or potentially economic coercion, sharp power attempts to theorize coercion, that although not as severe as hard power, nonetheless has the potential to undermine and damage liberal states. This talk aims to show how this conceptualization of illiberal state influence, one that can be grouped together with other similar concepts under the heading ‘unwanted flows of information,’ has led to a cognitive blind spot in our understanding of the scope of Russian influence in the West. By focusing on manipulation and subversion, it rejects the possibility that the messages coming out of the Russian state can be more than this – that they can also be ideologically attractive. In making this claim, this talk suggests that we need to characterize the influence of illiberal states not simply as ‘unwanted flows of information,’ such as sharp power, but consider how the influence is also ideological, and how that changes how we might think of solutions to this problem.

Vincent Charles Keating is an Associate Professor and Head of Section for International Politics, Center for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark. He holds an MSc in Nationalism Studies from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in International Politics from Aberystwyth University. Dr Keating’s co-authored work on Russian soft power has been published in International Politics and the Journal of International Relations and Development. Before coming to SDU, he held a previous position at the University of Durham and has been an invited guest professor at Université Paris-Panthéon-Assas (Paris II). In addition to Russian soft power, Keating’s research spans a number of other topics, including the challenges of the War on Terror on international human rights, the role of trust and distrust in international security, and how international non-governmental organizations maintain their global legitimacy.

 

Event V – Panel

Tihomira Doncheva, Viktor Denisenko and Grigorij Mesežnikov

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 / 11:00 (CET)

Viktor Denisenko: “Kremlin’s information war against the ‘collective West’: View from Lithuania”

The Baltic States, including Lithuania, were between first states that faced attacks of re-born Kremlin propaganda in the 90s of the XX century. Many narratives (about discrimination of Russian-speaking communities, neo-Nazism, Russophobia) used later against Ukraine firstly were tested in information warfare against Lithuania (as well Latvia and Estonia). Today, the challenge of Kremlin information warfare become very hot not only for former Soviet states. Moscow is waging a global information war against the “collective West”. In this situation very important is to discuss traditions (i.e. some stable narratives) and transformations (i.e. vanished boundaries between disinformation and diplomacy) of Kremlin propaganda and disinformation.   

Viktor Denisenko is an Associate Professor at General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania and Vilnius University. He got PhD in communication and information in 2016 at Vilnius University. The field of his scientific and professional interests includes propaganda, information warfare, and political communication. Viktor Denisenko is the author of the book “In the Encirclement of Propaganda” (Vilnius University Press, 2021).

Grigorij Mesežnikov:Russia’s sharp power in post-communist Europe: From disinfo narratives to military aggression”

Promoting its interests abroad, Russian state does not focus primarily on championing their own positive, attractive and viable alternatives but rather on undermining and destroying socio-political models that exist in the countries where it tries to advertise its concepts, therefore such a model of asserting influence abroad can be referred to as “sharp power.” Russia strives to debilitate or dismantle liberal democracy as a system, which is why it considers almost every enemy of liberal democracy around the world and particularly in Europe, including central Europe to be their ally – either a strategic or a situational.

The mission of Russian sharp power mechanism is to encourage mutual mistrust between people, relativize distinctions between democratic and non-democratic systems of government, blur differences between facts and fiction, between truth and lies, between trustworthy knowledge and its “alternative” interpretations in peoples’ perception and thus create an atmosphere of precarity.  Since 2014, the year of annexation of Crimea and occupation of part of the Eastern Ukraine, Russia is leading the information aggression against the post-communist Central European countries. Actors of this aggression try to spin the narratives that the very concept of liberal democracy is not suitable for Central European nations, that it is obsolete and should be replaced by another concept based on national, traditional, conservative, collectivist and ethnic values. According to such and interpretation, liberal democracy is not a system that creates optimum conditions for citizens’ freedom, democratic system of governance and implementation of human rights but rather merely a tool to promote power interests of large states while simultaneously harming vital interests of small European nations. Sharp power is a tool used by Russian expansionist authoritarian regime in efforts to reach its ultimate goal – to disconnect Central European nations from the West, to revise and reverse the results of their transformation processes and thus to reconstruct the past.

Grigorij Mesežnikov is a political scientist, president of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO), Bratislava, Slovakia. He has published numerous expert studies on party systems’ development and political aspects of transformation in post-communist societies, illiberal and authoritarian tendencies, populism, extremism, nationalism and hybrid threats in various monographs, collections and scholarly journals in Slovakia and other countries. He regularly contributes analyses of Slovakia’s political scene to domestic and foreign media. Since 1993, he has been an external correspondent for Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe. He has edited and authored dozens of books, including the Global Reports on Slovakia (1995 – 2011), the comprehensive analysis of country’s development in all relevant sectors of society. He was a key author of the report on Slovakia in Nations in Transit published by Freedom House (1998 – 2014). In 2006 he was awarded by Reagan-Fascell Fellowship by the National Endowment for Democracy (Washington, D.C.), in 2012 he was a research fellow of Taiwan Fellowship Program at the Department of Political Science of National Taiwan University in Taipei where he researched similarities and differences of democratization and civil society development in Taiwan and in Central Europe. In 2019 – 2020 he was a fellow of the Institute for Human Science – Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Vienna) at the Europe’s Futures program.

Tihomira Doncheva: “Russia’s footprint in the western Balkan information environment”

This talk will be about information influence activities in the Balkans as an example of sharp power. Doncheva will go in-depth into what are some of the factors that enable information influence activities, as well look into specific examples of Russian case.

Tihomira Doncheva is director of Center for Information, Democracy, and Citizenship (CIDC). She is an experienced communicator, researcher and project manager on multi-disciplinary topics related to the problems and challenges, opportunities and values of a liberal democratic society. She has joined AUBG in the summer of 2022, heading the university’s flagship initiative to reinvigorate AUBG’s founding mission. Through the CIDC, Doncheva aims to educate students and interested stakeholders to be engaged, informed, critical democratic citizens who will be committed to the rule of law, pluralism and inclusiveness, and open discussion, free press, and respect for human rights.

Doncheva has worked as a journalist for one of Bulgaria’s most professional media outlets, Capital, and has been a Researcher for the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga, working on malign influence across the Western Balkans. Over the last three years, she worked for a strategic communications company based in London, the UK, where her portfolio included a variety of projects from countering disinformation and propaganda, media development and information resilience, to countering violent extremism and terrorism in countries across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. She is a published author of reports on information influence activities in the Western Balkans and has also developed two separate apps on countering disinformation for journalists.

Tihomira has a First-Class Honours BA degree in Journalism from the University of Robert Gordon (Aberdeen, the UK) and a BA Honours degree in Europe in the World from the Hogeschool Utrecht and the Danish School of Media and Journalism (Utrecht, the Netherlands and Aarhus, Denmark). She has also completed an MA degree in Strategic Communications from the War Department at King’s College London (London, the UK).

As the Director at the newly founded CIDC, Doncheva will focus her efforts on strategizing and developing the CIDC as a think, talk, and act platform to provide academic opportunities for students and faculty, to generate new resources in collaboration with the civil society, business and public sector, and elevate AUBG as the go-to place for shared resources, partnerships, research and advocacy efforts within Bulgaria and the region.

 

Event VI – Seminar

Neil Robinson: Russian Sharp Power: A Weapon of the Weak?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 / 11:00 (CET)

 

Event VII – Panel

Ibrahim Öztürk and Imdat Oner

Wednesday, December 21, 2022 / 12:00 (CET)

 

For further information register via the link below and join the trending discussions.

Register Now

 

Members and supporters of nationalist organizations participate in Lukovmarch procession - a march in commemoration of general Hristo Lukov in Sofia, Bulgaria on February 16, 2019.

Mapping European Populism – Panel #5: Populist radical right/left parties and far-right movements in the Balkan countries (Oct.27, 2022) 

Date/Time: Thursday, October 27, 2022 / 15:00-17:00 CET

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Moderator

Dr Emilia Zankina (Dean of Temple University, Rome).

Speakers

“Normalization and radicalization: the paradoxes of populism in Bulgaria,” by Dr Evelina Staikova-Mileva (Associate Professor of political science at New Bulgarian University).

“Speaking for the transnational people: the Alliance for the Union of Romanians,” by Dr Sorina Soare (Researcher at the University of Florence).

“The trends of the Radical Right in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” by Dr Nedžma Džananović Miraščija (Professor and researcher at the University of Sarajevo’s Faculty of Political Science).

“Populists in government in young democracies, normalizing the defects of the young establishment: the case of Kosovo,” by Dr Avdi Smajljaj (Associate Professor in the department of Political Sciences and International Relations at Epoka University in Tirana, Albania).

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Photo: Shutterstock / GagoDesign

ECPS Youth Seminars — Populism versus European Values in the Digital Era: The Case of Romania

Date/Time: Thursday, October 6, 2022 / 18:00 (CEST)

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Moderator

Celia Miray Yesil

Speaker

Dr. Antonio Momoc

The decline of trust in the political institutions of liberal democracy and in traditional journalism (print, radio, television) has been fueled by populists and anti-liberal ideologies. The rise of digital populism has especially generated “a cultural chaos of fake news” that is tremendously damaging the democratic culture. Populist leaders accused conventional media of generating fake news or of “being fake news.” In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the people’s loss of trust in the media amplified as they became poorly financed, unprofessional, increasingly politicized, and partisan.

Meanwhile, digital populists successfully convince these people of possible opportunities created by direct democracy thanks to the online environment. The populist actors argue that the people do not need the institutions of mediation (traditional media, journalists) and representativity (elites, political parties, parliament) anymore, thanks to the fact that they now have the internet, social media, and new technologies.

Dr. Antonio Momoc is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication Sciences and Cultural Anthropology. He is also the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the University of Bucharest. Dr. Momoc teaches various aspects of communication and media, the new media theories and political communication, fashion, branding and politics, and electoral campaigns.

Moderator Celia Miray Yesil is a master’s student of International Political Economy at Warwick University. Her undergraduate degree was in European Politics at King’s College London, where she studied the historical background of Europe in the global context. Miray is interested in the impact of far-right populism on foreign policy, the political language of populist leaders, and its political economy.

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For right-wing populists in western world, ‘the others’ include immigrants first and foremost, but can also comprise ‘welfare scroungers’, regional minorities, those with ‘non-traditional’ lifestyles, communists, and so on.

ECPS Youth Seminars — The Others of Europe: Migrants, Refugees, Minorities and LGBTQ+ on the Eyes of Right-Wing Populists

Date/Time: Tuesday, June 21, 2022 / 18:00 (CET)

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Moderator

Celia Miray Yesil

Speaker

Dr Koen Slootmaeckers

At this ECPS Youth Seminar, Dr Koen Slootmaeckers is going to speak on “The others of Europe: The migrants, refugees, minorities and LGBTQ+ on the eyes of right-wing populists” and beyond. 

Dr Koen Slootmaeckers is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the Department of International Politics at City University of London. He has a multidisciplinary background and combines insights from sociology and political science into his work. His research focusses on gender and sexuality politics in Europe and is particularly interested in analysing hierarchies within the international system. More specifically, Koen has studied the EU accession of Serbia and how this process affects LGBT politics and activism. And his more recent project is interested in the transnational politics of LGBT Pride Parades. His work has been widely published, including a (co-)edited volume ‘EU Enlargement and Gay Politics’ (Palgrave 2016; with Heleen Touquet and Peter Vermeersch), and articles in, amongst others, East European Politics, Politics, Contemporary South-eastern Europe, Journal of Homosexuality, and Europe-Asia Studies. 

Moderator Celia Miray Yesil is a master’s student of International Political Economy at the Warwick University. She gained her undergraduate degree in European Politics at King’s College London, studying the historical background of European nations and its relationships with the rest of the world. Miray is considering focussing more on the impact of far-right populism in foreign policy, particularly looking at the political language and communication of populist leaders in the international political economy. 

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Marine Le Pen, from the Front National, a national-conservative political party in France in meeting for the presidential election of 2017 at the Zenith of Paris on April 17, 2017. Photo: Frederic Legrand.

Mapping European Populism – Panel #4: Populist radical right in Europe’s heartland (Germany, Austria, France) and the UK (May 26, 2022)

Date/Time: Thursday, May 26, 2022 / 15:00-17:00 CET

Click here to register!

Moderator

Dr. Luke Cooper (Member of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit at the LSE).

Speakers

“The Rise of Radical Right Populism in Germany,” by Dr. Ralf Havertz (Associate Professor of International Relations at Keimyung University in South Korea). 

Right-wing Populism and the New Right in Austria – Recent Trends and Manifestations,” by Dr. Karin Liebhart (Senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, the University of Vienna). 

“The Populist Radical Right in the 2022 French Presidential Election: Party Fragmentation and Electoral Outcomes,” by Dr. Gilles Ivaldi (CNRS researcher in political science at the Centre for Political Research at Sciences-Po, Paris). 

“From the Margins to the Mainstream: The UK Populist Radical Right at a Time of Transition,” by Dr. William Allchorn (Postdoctoral Researcher and Associate Director at the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right at the University of Leeds). 

Q&A Session

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Photo: Matej Kastelic.

ECPS Academy Future Leaders Program (July 4-8, 2022)   

Euroscepticism and far-right politics: The populist challenge to EU norms, institutions and values 

Are you an early-career academic researcher in the social sciences or humanities at Bachelor’s or Master’s level? Are you passionate about European politics and understanding the dynamics that shape it? Are you looking for a way to expand your knowledge under the supervision of leading experts, seeking options to have your work published by a European research institute, or simply in need of a few extra ECTS credits for your studies? Then consider applying to ECPS Academy Future Leaders Program! The European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS) is looking to select a handful of outstanding young researchers for a unique opportunity to assess the populist challenge to European politics in a five-day, interactive Summer course led by global experts from a variety of backgrounds. This rigorous program will provide a state-of-the-art introduction to a number of key issues in the field of populism studies and enable successful candidates to explore their own ideas under the supervision of our experts. You gain not only an opportunity to have your work published and a handful of ECTS points but also a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons and deepen your understanding of the challenges facing European politics in the 21st century.  

Overview  

European politics have witnessed, over the last 20 years, a subversive wave of Eurosceptic, nativist, populist far-right politics. Beginning as a phenomenon on the socio-political fringes, populism has found fertile ground in the post-industrial economies of the West, attaching itself to nationalist and de-modernising movements threatening core European values of democracy, openness, tolerance and non-discrimination – and, in the process, taking many democracies by storm. In Donald Trump and the successful ‘Brexit’ campaign in the United Kingdom, many saw right-wing populism reaching its political apex and the 2010s to be the ‘populist decade’, marking populism’s entry into the political mainstream; today, although Covid-19, in a sense, undermined support for right-wing populist governance, the economic and social uncertainties that remain mean the spectre of exclusionary populism is never far.  

This trend threatens the European Union on both the institutional and the normative level. EU values such as democracy, freedom, human rights, justice, and equality are under greater threat today than perhaps at any point in the Union’s 50 years of history. Understanding the drivers and the impact of populist right politics on liberal democracy is key to tackling the most critical challenges facing European identity, institutions and values. The ECPS Academy Future Leaders Program seeks to empower future generations by helping the exceling young scholars of tomorrow to understand the nature and dynamics of the populist moment, and thereby facilitate the development of constructive and effective responses. As Europe celebrates the EU Year of Youth in 2022, our five-day Future Leaders Program offers young people a dynamic, engaging and interdisciplinary learning environment with an intellectually challenging program presented by world class scholars of populism, allowing them to grow as future academic, intellectual, activist and public leaders. 

Over the course of five days, interactive lectures by world-leading practitioners and experts from a number of backgrounds will introduce populism from a variety of angles and explore the fundamental questions and potent tensions its popularity raises. The lectures are complemented by discussions, group interactions and assignments on selected key issues to develop critical and openminded engagement with some of the most pressing questions of European politics, and to introduce participants to cutting-edge qualitative and quantitative approaches to populism reflective of the state of social science research today. Participants have the opportunity to collaborate with those from different socio-political contexts, developing invaluable cross-cultural perspectives and facilitating a knowledge exchange that goes beyond European borders.  

Who should apply? 

This unique course is addressed to outstanding candidates interested in gaining a more comprehensive and critical understanding of how the rise of far-right populism, and related trends like Euroscepticism, nativism, authoritarianism and exclusionary politics subvert the European Union’s basic pillars and essential European values. A select group of participants will be chosen based on merit, with applications welcomed from students pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees of any discipline, as well as early career professionals between the ages of 18 and 30. You will be selected on the basis of a letter of motivation, a CV and a research proposal of between 500 and 1000 words. The proposal should give a brief analysis of populism’s relationship to one or more core European value, and ideally outline a plan to investigate this relationship further. Drawing upon and correctly citing academic sources is desirable.  

We value the high level of diversity on our courses, welcoming applications from people of all backgrounds. The deadline for submitting applications is June 20, 2022. Reflecting the properly pan-European character of the ECPS Academy Future Leaders Program – but unfortunately also the difficulties of organising in-person events in times of pandemic – the 2022 Program will take place on Zoom, consisting of two sessions each day.  

Topics and Lecturers

  • “Populism in Europe: Origins and causes of the populist moment,” by Paul Taggart, Professor of Politics, University of Sussex.
  • “Nativist Populism: Political discourse between othering and inclusion,” by Ruth Wodak, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies, Lancaster University.
  • “Populism and nationalism: Challenges to the idea of European Union,” by Daphne Halikiopoulou, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Reading.
  • “Populism and the rule of law,” by Bojan Bugarič, Professor of Law, University of Scheffield.
  • “Populism and economic performance: Implications on institutions and good governance,” by Ibrahim Ozturk, Professor of Economics, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • “Russia’s populist discourse and its invasion of Ukraine: Challenges for the EU,” by Neil Robinson, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Limmerick.
  • “Populism and participation: Democracy by the People, for the People? by Susana Salgado, Professor of Political Communication, Principal Researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon
  • “Populism and new media: Understanding challenges online and offline,” by Dr Eviane Leidig, Research Fellow, International Center for Counter-Terrorism.
  • “Populism and gender: Gender identity in populist discourse,” by Dr Haley McEwen, Researcher, Wits Centre for Diversity Studies, University of the Witwatersrand.

Evaluation Criteria 

Meeting the assessment criteria is required from all participants aiming to successfully complete the program and receive a certificate of attendance in the end. These evaluation criteria include full attendance, active participation in lectures, and the successful completion of an individual written assignment, ideally (but not necessarily) linked to your research proposal.  

Participants are expected to write an article or essay on a topic of their choice based on one of the themes discussed during the program. They are expected to plan and produce original work that presents arguments in a clear and balanced way drawing on multiple sources and incorporating and citing them consistent with academic standards. For this process, they will be supervised by one of our in-house experts to complete this assignment successfully. The articles will be between 2,000 and 3,000 words and need to be submitted within a month from the end of the program; selected papers will be considered for publication on the ECPS website and ECPS Youth blog. 

Credit 

This course is worth 5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however, please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution. 

Certificate of Attendance 

Awarded after program to all participants based on the satisfactory participation in, and completion of, the course assignments. Certificates are sent to students only by email.

Please submit your application: ecps@populismstudies.org 

NMR6

Mapping European Populism – Panel #3: Scandinavia under magnifier: Populist radical right parties and the end of Nordic exceptionalism? (Apr.28, 2022)

Date/Time: Thursday, April 28, 2022 / 15:00-17:00 (CET)

Click here to register!

Moderator

Dr. Liv Sunnercrantz (Department of Media and Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway) 

Speakers

“The Sweden Democrats in Swedish politics – the mainstreaming of extremism,” by Dr. Anders Hellström (Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö University, Sweden)

From rural to radical right: a brief perspective on Finnish populism,” by Marie Cazes (Doctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Public perceptions of the populist radical right in Norway,” by Dr. Lise Lund Bjånesøy (Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, Norway)

“From success to failure? The recent developments of the radical and populist right in Denmark,” by Dr. Susi Meret (Department of Politics and Society, University of Aalborg, Denmark)

Q&A Session

Click here to register!