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NEWSLETTER No. 1, June 2015


This is the first issue of the POPULISMUS newsletter, an initiative of the POPULISMUS research project, addressed to all those interested in research around populist discourse and democracy. The newsletter aims primarily at communicating events, research findings, publications, useful links and other initiatives related to POPULISMUS and its web-based Observatory. However, it will also highlight broader developments within the field of populism studies.

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Lecture by John McCormick,
Thessaloniki, 3 June 2015
Within the scope of the POPULISMUS lectures series, John McCormick, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, will be delivering a lecture entitled ‘Democracy in Crisis and the Populist Challenge’. The lecture will take place on Wednesday 3 June 2015, at 18.00, at Amphitheatre III of the  Research Dissemination Centre of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

POPULISMUS International Conference,
Thessaloniki, 26-28 June 2015
A major three-day international conference on ‘Populism and Democracy’ will take place in Thessaloniki to mark the conclusion of the POPULISMUS project and the official launching of the POPULISMUS Observatory. The conference will host distinguished researchers from international and Greek universities and will aim at the dissemination of the findings of the project to the international academic community and the wider pubic sphere, facilitating thus a much-needed reflexive dialogue on the multiple dimensions of populism and its effects on democracy.


Balibar - Stavrakakis debate
Athens, 5 May 2015
POPULISMUS Principal Investigator, Professor Yannis Stavrakakis has participated in a debate with Etienne Balibar, Emeritus Professor of Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense on populism, anti-populism and counter-populism. The debate was organized in Athens by the French Institute of Greece on 5 May 2015.

Solving the Puzzles of Populism
London, 30 April – 2 May 2015
POPULISMUS has participated with a joint paper and a poster at the ‘Solving the Puzzles of Populism’ conference  of the Team Populism initiative, London 30 April – 2 May 2015.

Team populism brings together a pool of renowned American and European scholars to study the causes of populism. It seeks to answer why some populist parties, leaders or movements are more successful than others. The general argument is that populism is best understood as a combination of individual and contextual issues (‘demand side’) and the availability of successful leaders (‘supply side’). The goal is to expand on this broad framework by studying multiple levels of analysis, and drawing on different methodological tools, including experiments, surveys, textual and comparative analysis. To facilitate this work, individual teams are organized around functional tasks.

POPULISMUS E-Library launched
Within the scope of its operation, the POPULISMUS Observatory will host a series of digital publications available to download in PDF format. These will include edited versions of some of the deliverables of the project uploaded under the rubric MATERIALS; papers related to our research aims submitted by other researchers available under the category WORKING PAPERS; last but not least, transcripts of interviews and lectures on populism and democracy accessible as INTERVENTIONS.

It is currently possible to download the first three available ‘Interventions’ and the first uploaded ‘Working Paper’:
Interventions 1: ‘The European Union has a deficit of populism’ – An interview with Professor Simon Critchley
Interventions 2: Left-wing populism and the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) – An interview with Professor Gerrit Voerman
Interventions 3: Étienne Balibar, Du populisme au contre-populisme: histoire et stratégie
Working Papers 1: Samuele Mazzolini, Left-wing populism in Ecuador: Preliminary notes on the potentialities and risks of constructing a ‘People’

POPULISMUS Tube launched
The video of Chantal Mouffe’s keynote lecture on the crisis of representative democracy and left-wing populism is now accessible through the POPULISMUS Observatory - Access the lecture and all the proceedings of the POPULISMUS 2014 workshop at POPULISMUS Tube!


Populism is dynamically and unexpectedly back on the agenda. Latin American governments that dismiss the so-called 'Washington consensus' and extreme right-wing parties and movements in Europe advancing xenophobic and racist stereotypes exemplify this trend. More recently, emerging social movements and parties in Southern Europe that resist the current administration of the global financial crisis and the Tea Party movement in the US have also been branded 'populist'. The POPULISMUS research project aims at the comparative mapping of the populist discourse articulated by such sources in order to facilitate a reassessment of the category of 'populism' and to develop a theoretical approach capable of reorienting the empirical analysis of populist ideologies in the global environment of the 21st century. Building on the theoretical basis offered by the discourse theory developed by the so-called 'Essex School', POPULISMUS adopts a discursive methodological framework in order to explore the multiple expressions of populist politics, to highlight the need to study the emerging cleavage between populism and anti-populism and to assess the effects this has on the quality of democracy. Through the dissemination of its research findings we anticipate that the synthetic analysis of populist discourse it puts forward and the emerging evaluation of populism’s complex and often ambivalent relationship with democracy will advance the relevant scientific knowledge, also enabling the deepening of democratic culture in times of crisis.


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