“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).
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.
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.
Dr. Luke Cooper(Member of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit at the LSE).
“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).
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
The Great Recoil focusses on the political and ideological transformations of the last two decades that have seen a turn away from the triumphalist, universalist attitudes towards globalisation and free trade, fuelled by a shift towards nationalist and nativist attitudes in a number of Western democracies, often called the ‘populist moment’ of the 2010s. Gerbaudo’s contention is that, while the appeal of such inward-focussed discourses was growing for over a decade, the Covid-19 crisis produced the perfect storm for what he terms the exopolitics of globalisation; in his eyes, the coming decades will be dominated, instead, by the endopolitics of a new ‘neo-statist’ impulse.
Examining the origin and changes in the three ‘master signifiers’ of this Great Recoil, sovereignty, protection and control, he argues that the success of populist radical right parties over the past decade was due to their recognition of the growing salience for this endopolitical discourse, fuelled by what he calls a ‘global agoraphobia.’ Gerbaudo then, in the final part of the book, argues for a strategy of progressive contention, re-capture and re-articulation of the signifiers of sovereignty, protection and control, arguing for a ‘progressive nationalism’ that re-engages the nation and its signifiers external both to nativist impulses and its ‘withering away’ amid a globalised cosmopolitanism. Instead, the nation must become a ‘protective structure’ that actively combats agoraphobia and drives reinstates feelings of control among the population.
Dr. PAOLO GERBAUDO completed his PhD in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, London, under the supervision of Professor Nick Couldry. After roles as Associate Lecturer in Journalism and Communication at Middlesex University and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the American University in Cairo, Gerbaudo became Lecturer in Digital Culture and Society at King’s College London in 2012. Today, he is Reader in Digital Politics and Director of the Centre for Digital Culture. His work examines the intersection of media and politics, particularly as it regards populist movements, modern party structures, youth participation and political communication. His first book, Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism (2012) examined the impact of social media on social movements; The Digital Party (2018) turned his attention to how our mediatised world has changed political organisation and communication, before his latest The Great Recoil (2021) examined the transformations of populist discourse in the context of setbacks to globalisation amid nationalism and pandemics. See also review of the book: https://doi.org/10.55271/br0011
Dr. ANTON JÄGER is a postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven and member of the Institute of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He completed his Ph.D. in History at the University of Cambridge focussing on a revisionist history of the Populist movement in 19th century America. Besides his historical interests in the origins of populist discourse, Jäger’s work has focussed on intellectual history, including critiques of the late Ernesto Laclau and the field of populism studies more broadly.
MAXIMILIAN WOLF, MPhil, is an intern at the European Center for Populism Studies. Maximilian was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. After receiving his BA in Politics at the University of Exeter (UK), he completed his MPhil in Political Sociology at St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge (UK). His work has focussed on discourse analyses of both right- and left-wing populist phenomena, and an abridged version of his Master’s thesis, entitled Locating the Laclausian Left: Progressive Strategy and the Politics of Anxiety, has been accepted for publication in issue 3/2022 of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Populism (forthcoming). Besides ECPS, Maximilian now works for a governance think-tank in Vienna.
At this ECPS Youth Seminar, Dr. Sandra Obradovic is going to present the findings of a research paper titled “Understanding the psychological appeal of populism” which is jointly written by Obradovic, Séamus A. Power and Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington. According to the paper, psychology can play an important role in expanding our understanding of the demand-side of populism by revealing its underlying relational logic. Social psychological perspectives on populism are beginning to show how: 1) the division between us (‘the good people’) and them (‘the corrupt elites’/ ‘foreign others’) taps into core intergroup dynamics, 2) economic and cultural processes are construed in terms of basic status concerns, and 3) collective emotions become mobilised through political communication. Taking these insights into consideration, the authors reflect on psychology’s contribution to the study of populism thus far and chart out an ambitious role for it at the heart of this interdisciplinary field.
Dr. Sandra Obradovic is a social and political psychologist in the UK. She is a lecturer in Psychology at the Open University and a researcher at the Electoral Psychology Observatory at the London School of Economics. Her work examines how group boundaries are constructed and defined, and their impact on identities, intergroup relations, and political attitudes. In bringing this focus to research on populism she works with colleagues in Denmark and the UK, examining and comparing populist and mainstream rhetoric and highlighting the role of hierarchies, emotions, and temporalities in constructing the common people as under threat. At the Electoral Psychology Observatory, she works with colleagues on research on electoral atmosphere and hostility: how voters experience elections and its impact on interpersonal relationships and overall satisfaction with democracy.
Celia Miray Yesil is a ECPS Youth Group member, co-director of Voice of Youth (VoY) and 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. In her undergraduate dissertation, Miray looked at the populist ‘language’ of the far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As for her master’s dissertation, 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.
As most agree that no one can predict today how Turkey will evolve; which spirit will mark the country’s future. Who could have predicted the turn it has taken in recent years after having been a rising star in the early 2000s, a candidate for the European club, “the” model to follow, especially for Muslim countries seeking justice and prosperity? The failure of its candidacy, in which Europe has its share, has been the prelude to its progressive de-Westernisation accompanied by bellicosity on all fronts, at home and abroad. Western countries are trying to manage this “Turkish crisis” between incomprehension and blind detachment, between appeasement and complicity, between containment and apprehension of seeing this large country decompose in its turn. As a scholar who has witnessed Turkey’s never-ending transformation, Dr. Cengiz Aktar provides analytical tools to understand the split of a society between state, nation, religion, imperial myth and the West in this concise and well-documented study.
Dr. Cengiz Aktar is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Athens. He is a former director at the United Nations specializing in asylum policies. He is known to be one of the leading advocates of Turkey’s integration into the EU. He was the Chair of European Studies at Bahçeşehir University-Istanbul.
In 1999, he initiated a civil initiative for Istanbul’s candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture. Istanbul successfully held the title in 2010. He also headed the initiative called “European Movement 2002” which pressured lawmakers to speed up political reforms necessary to begin the negotiation phase with the EU. In December 2008, he developed the idea of an online apology campaign addressed to Armenians and supported by a number of Turkish intellectuals as well as over 32,000 Turkish citizens.
In addition to EU integration policies, Dr. Aktar’s research focuses on the politics of memory regarding ethnic and religious minorities, the history of political centralism, and international refugee law.
Dr. Dirk Rochtus is an Associated Professor of International Politics and German History at the KU Leuven/Campus Antwerpen and a senior fellow at the Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung (www.zei.de) of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. He is former vice-chief of Cabinet of the Flemish Minister of Foreign Affairs (2005-2007). In 2007 he was awarded the ‘Bundesverdienstkreuz’ (Federal Cross of Merit) of the Federal Republic of Germany.
At this ECPS Youth Seminar, Professor Alessandro Nai, will present results from his recent research on how voters perceive the (dark) personality of political candidates. Who likes dark politicians? His research article investigates whether voters showcasing populist attitudes are more likely to appreciate candidates that score high on dark personality traits (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) and low on agreeableness.
Professor Nai’s investigation leverages evidence from an international survey that includes expert-ratings for personality profile of 49 top candidates having competed in 22 national elections, matched with standardized survey data gathered in the aftermath of those same elections that include self-ratings of populist attitudes and candidate likeability (CSES data, N = 70,690). Even controlling for important covariates that drive candidate likeability (e.g., the ideological distance between the voter and the candidate), the results strongly confirm the expectations: populist voters are significantly more likely to appreciate candidates high on the Dark triad and low on agreeableness. The effects, especially for (low) agreeableness, are quite substantial.
Alessandro Nai is Assistant Professor of Political Communication at the Department of Communication Science, University of Amsterdam. Prior to this he was Senior Research Associate at the Electoral Integrity Project (University of Sydney) and Assistant Professor / Lecturer at the University of Geneva, where he obtained his Ph.D. in political science. His research focuses on the drivers and consequences of election campaigning, political communication, and the psychology of voting behaviour.
His recent work deals more specifically with the dark sides of politics, the use of negativity and incivility in election campaigns in a comparative perspective, and the (dark) personality traits of political figures. He is currently directing a research project that maps the use of negative campaigning in elections across the world. His recent work has been published in journals such as Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, West European Politics, International Journal of Press/Politics, American Politics Research, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Personality and Individual Differences, Electoral Studies, Journal of Political Marketing, and more. He recently co-edited the volumes New Perspectives on Negative Campaigning: Why Attack Politics Matters (ECPR Press, 2015, with Annemarie S. Walter) and Election Watchdogs (Oxford University Press, 2017, with Pippa Norris). He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Social and Political Psychology.
Celia Miray Yesil is a ECPS Youth Group member, co-director of Voice of Youth (VoY) and 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. In her undergraduate dissertation, Miray looked at the populist ‘language’ of the far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She carried out a comparative discourse analysis of the political speeches of the leaders, focusing on how they have combined nationalist ideology into their populist discourse, emphasising on three main features: historical nostalgia of the nation, the loss of identity and a hostility and hatred towards EU institutions. As for her master’s dissertation, 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.