Populism and Extremism in Europe

Current Populism in Europe and the Role of the Media

International Conference
January to June 2017 – Prague, Czech Republic

The spread of populism represents one of the most acute challenges to European liberal democracies. To understand the dynamics of populist behaviour and strategies, it is crucial to analyse the relationship between populism and the media, and to discuss the phenomenon of “media populism”. In the context of upcoming elections in various EU member states, it will be especially important to assess the penetration of populist attitudes into the mainstream political space and the resulting shift in the entire political landscape. The conference is open to theoretical aspects of populism, as well as to the presentation of empirical studies on issues such as the media strategies of populist politicians, movements or parties; the way the media covers populism; the interlinkages between the media and political leaders; and the implications of media coverage on the political space. Particularly welcome are comparative analyses of individual EU member states, and special attention will also be devoted to comparisons with the situation in the USA.

Within this context, the conference encourages papers on the following topics:

  • Conceptualisation of and approaches towards European populism
  • Impacts of populism on the political culture and the political mainstream
  • Populism and the role of the media
  • Global shifts towards populism in comparative perspective

Confirmed speakers were: Hanspeter Kriesi (European University Institute, Florence), Wolfgang Merkel (Berlin Social Science Center), Donatella Campus (University of Bologna) and Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).


Politics of History and the New Nationalism in Today's Europe

Congress, 10. - 11. October 2017 – Berlin, Germany

Politics of history have increased their pace in many countries during the last years. The new nationalism has gained more legitimation and many political positions seem to rewrite history. From Poland to Turkey – nationalist narratives are supported, in order to foster the victories of the country and their cultures. The interventions against the museum of the Second World War or against the Central European University (CEU) in 2017 are just a some examples.

The discussions about the current historic narratives and comparison of them within a European scale delivered great insights. The conference was organized in a cooperation with the German Historian Society.


Future of Europe after the Elections – Rise or Fall of Populism

Discussion Series
September - October 2017 – Prague, Czech Republic

In 2017, the presidential elections in France and the federal elections in Germany were of major importance for the future of the European project. Moreover, the parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic also took place in 2017. We observe that populist and extreme right-wing parties are gaining the strength in most of the EU member states and this represents an enormous risk and challenge for European liberal democracy and the future of the European project.

The discussion series didn't take place in the capital Prague but in smaller towns around the country: Pizen, Usti nad Labem, Ceske Budejovice and Brno. The aim was to reach people, that are directly confronted with populist tendencies in their communities.