REPRESENT Seminar on Populism with Daniele Albertazzi and Davide Vampa (27/01/21)

We are pleased to invite you to join us for the next REPRESENT Seminar and the first one of 2021, taking place via Zoom on Wednesday 27th of January at 4:30pm.

On this occasion, we are delighted to have Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham) and Davide Vampa (Aston University, Birmingham), who will present the book they co-edited: “Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe”, with Simon Toubeau (University of Nottingham) as chair of the meeting.

Abstract:

This book analyses how party competition has adjusted to the success of populism in Western Europe, whether this is non-populists dealing with their populist competitors, or populists interacting with each other.

The volume focuses on Western Europe in the period 2007– 2018 and considers both right- wing and left- wing populist parties. It critically assesses the concept and rise of populism, and includes case studies on Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Italy. The authors apply an original typology of party strategic responses to political competitors, which allows them to map interactions between populist and non-populist parties in different countries. They also assess the links between ideology and policy, the goals of different populist parties, and how achieving power affects these parties. The volume provides important lessons for the study of political competition, particularly in the aftermath of a crisis and, as such, its framework can inform future research in the post-Covid- 19 era.

Book your place on the call here

This seminar is delivered by REPRESENT a joint initiative between political scientists at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. It is also supported by the ESRC funded Populism in Action project led by Daniele Albertazzi and Stijn van Kessel.

“Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe” Edited by Daniele Albertazzi and Davide Vampa has Been Published

Populism in Action’s Principal Investigator Dr. Daniele Albertazzi has edited a book in Routledge’s Extremism & Democracy series with Davide Vampa. Entitled Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe it was published today (14th January 2021).

The purpose of the book is described in the following terms:

This book analyses how party competition has adjusted to the success of populism in Western Europe, whether this is non-populists dealing with their populist competitors, or populists interacting with each other. The volume focuses on Western Europe in the period 2007–2018 and considers both right-wing and left-wing populist parties. It critically assesses the concept and rise of populism, and includes case studies on Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Italy. The authors apply an original typology of party strategic responses to political competitors, which allows them to map interactions between populist and non-populist parties in different countries. They also assess the links between ideology and policy, the goals of different populist parties, and how achieving power affects these parties. The volume provides important lessons for the study of political competition, particularly in the aftermath of a crisis and, as such, its framework can inform future research in the post-Covid-19 era. This wide-ranging study will appeal to students and scholars of political science interested in populism and political competition; and will appeal to policy makers and politicians from across the political spectrum.

You can order a copy here.

Mattia Zulianello Explores the Impact of Covid-19 Upon Popular Support for Populist Radical Right Parties Across Europe for Italy’s Domani

In his latest op-ed for Italian newspaper Domani (31/12/20) our Italy focused Research Fellow Mattia Zulianello uses recent polling from across Europe to show that since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, support for populist radical right parties has – in the main – tended to remain intact.

Mattia summarises his article explaining that:

The majority of populist radical right parties (PRR) declined in the polls (i.e. voting intentions) in the year Covid-19 hit (18 out of 26), as shown by the variation between January and December 2020. During the first wave, PRR parties in govt. registered a considerable rise at the polls in the most acute phases of the crisis. However, during the second wave of Covid-19 PRR incumbents lost ground at the polls. This is shown in particular by Fidesz in Hungary and PiS in Poland. The 8 (out of 26) PRR parties that grew at the polls by the end 2020 are all opposition forces. Among them, the top-performers have been Brothers of Italy (+5.7%), the New Right in Denmark (+5.1%) and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands (+3.5%). Overall, 2020 has NOT been an annus horribilis for European PRRs. Despite the broader negative trend in terms of voting intentions, the PRR parties in the European Union still lead the polls in Italy, Poland, Hungary and they are 2nd in France and the Netherlands, 3rd in Spain and Sweden (as well as in Italy). The pandemic has NOT wiped out the populist radical right even in countries where it has only made its appearance in recent years, such as Portugal and Spain. Furthermore, in an increasing number of countries, the political market is characterised by the presence of multiple successful parties of the PRR, a phenomenon that generates complex interactions of cooperation and competition, as the Italian case (Salvini vs Meloni) suggests. The pandemic in 2020 hence suggests a substantial resilience of the populist radical right even in the context of an unprecedented global crisis. PRR parties are here to stay. The pandemic has not inflected a fatal blow to these parties: on the contrary, it provides further evidence of the consolidation of the populist radical right in European political systems.

The full article can be read here (in Italian and paywalled).

Round Up of 2020

It goes without saying that nobody could have predicted how 2020 eventually unfolded. It has been a tough year in all manner of ways for people right across the world, and for us in the Populism in Action team it forced a rethink of several aspects of our plans for the project. However, in the face of the adversity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic we have adapted our ways of working so as to continue studying and explaining how and why populist radical right parties in Western Europe invest a lot of time, effort and resources into building mass membership and supporter organisations. Along the way we have produced analysis across both print and video explaining what we have found out, and the bearing that it has upon current affairs, in a succinct and accessible way. Now as we approach the end of 2020 and the rest of the decade stretches tentatively ahead of us we are delighted to share a selection of these with you.

Enjoy having a look back at what we have done to disseminate some of our findings this year – we wish you good health and comfort over the festive period and throughout 2021.

January – March

The first few months of 2020 – much like the last quarter of 2019 – saw our research team using their expertise and knowledge to produce incisive analysis of European current affairs.

Where Luigi Di Maio and Italy’s Five Star Movement Went Wrong – by Mattia Zulianello

 

Italy’s Government Still On A Knife Edge After Key Regional Elections – by Daniele Albertazzi and Davide Pellegrino

 

The Swiss People’s Party Looks for a New Leader – by Adrian Favero

Why Europe’s Populist Radical Right Parties Are Not Eager to Leave the EU – by Stijn van Kessel

 

March – June

When Covid-19 first began shutting down countries, our research team produced a series of analyses looking at how the Flemish, Swiss, Italian and Finnish populist radical right parties under study reacted to the public health emergency:

June – September

As life across Europe settled into a tentative wait for effective treatments and successful vaccines, our research team turned its attention to exploring some of the long-term trends that our research is examining.

A Starter Library on Populism – by Adrian Favero, Niko Hatakka, Judith Sijstermans, Mattia Zulianello

 

A “Great Identity Crisis” Complicates Belgium’s Colonial and Racial Reckoning – by Judith Sijstermans

 

Right-Wing Populism Across Europe – PiAP’s First Video Series

-This series of short films consists of in-depth discussions between members of the project team. Our researchers focus on key issues around the political parties we are studying, by looking at their communication strategies, membership organisation, strategic approaches and political objectives.

September – December

Despite the continued wait for effective public health measures and treatments to end the pandemic the latter part of the year saw the Populism in Action team engaged in a number of significant initiatives aimed at disseminating the projects’ research findings.

PiAP-Clinton Institute Webinar: Comparing Populisms – Daniele Albertazzi and Stijn van Kessel

 

Populism in Europe and the USA – Webinar Recording – Daniele Albertazzi and Scott Lucas

 

Populism and Sub-State Nationalism Intersect in Belgium’s Flanders – Judith Sijstermans

 

Launch of the new Populism in Action Project website

 

Thank you for following our research and engaging with us this year. Its been quite a ride but we look forward to sharing and discussing more of our findings with you in 2021. Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous festive period and an excellent year to come – onwards and upwards.

Populism in Europe and the USA – Webinar Recording

This Webinar took place on October 22, 2020. The main focus of the discussion was how do we understand populist leadership in the US? Is Trump a “populist”? What are the similarities and differences between Trump’s rhetoric and ideology and populists in Europe today (including the UK and Ireland)?

Watch the full webinar here.

Speakers included:

Mick Fealty, Editor of Slugger O’Toole
Dr. Daniele Albertazzi, University of Birmingham
Professor Scott Lucas, University of Birmingham
Professor Daphne Halikiopoulou, University of Reading
Professor Tim Bale, Queen Mary, University of London

The discussion was chaired by Professor Liam Kennedy, Director of UCD Clinton Institute.

PiAP-Clinton Institute Webinar: Comparing Populisms

This post appeared originally on EA Worldview


What can we learn from examining populism across as well as within countries?

The Populism in Action Project’s Dr. Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham) and Dr. Stijn van Kessel (Queen Mary, University of London), joined by Dr. Julien Mercille (University College Dublin), took on the question in a webinar hosted by UCD’s Clinton Institute on October 15.

A video of this event was recorded and can be accessed here.

Dr. van Kessel laid the foundation for the session by setting out PiAP’s methodology and research questions. He began with the assumption, possibly borne out by the experience and practice of “mainstream” parties over the last 50 years, of a move away from the cultivation of extensive and intensive engagement with a mass membership. PiAP’s critique of this model is the demonstration of a mixture of older and newer forms of engagement cultivated and sustained by populist radical right parties in Europe.

Dr. Albertazzi then set out some of PiAP’s key findings so far in Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Italy, and Switzerland, considering the cases of Vlaams Belang, the Finns Party, the League and the Swiss People’s Party respectively.

In each, the representatives interviewed were enthusiastic about building local parties as a key part of strategy and internal culture. While there are noticeable local differences — for instance, the prominence of social media and instant messaging channels like WhatsApp in Italy and Belgium, and the relatively high degree of local autonomy enjoyed by branches of the Swiss People’s Party — each party under study is very good at building participatory organizations with which members want to be involved.

Albertazzi explained the attractive proposition of joining a space where a member can connect with like-minded people to share and discuss political ideas. Aware of this, populist radical right parties have developed effective means to mobilize members, who connect with them via social media or through other channels, into face-to-face activity through formal campaigning activity or social events.

Dr. Mercille complemented PiAP’s work, with the discussion of contemporary Irish politics. He explained why, despite the similarities between Ireland and other Western European countries, a populist radical right party has yet to emerge in the Republic.

There are conditions such as increasing economic insecurity, highly visible wealth inequality, concerns amongst culturally conservative individuals about social change, and a lack of trust in the political system. But Mercille suggested that reasons for the non-emergence of a radical right populist party range from the lack of a charismatic leader to the historic right-leaning duopoly of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, dominant since Irish independence in 1921. If there is a breakdown of this historic alignment, then Ireland might join other European countries with a populist radical right party like those studied by PiAP.

Italy Focused Research Fellow Mattia Zulianello Writes a Feature for Domani

PiAP’s Italy focused Research Fellow Dr. Mattia Zulianello has had a feature article published in Domani a recently created broadsheet style newspaper focused on longform journalism and expert analysis.

In the piece entitled This is Why the pandemics Have Not Killed Populism, the key points he makes based upon his research are:

Most European populist parties had a negative trend in their voting intentions in the first phase of the pandemic (until the end June). However, despite some notable exceptions, the decline in polls has been rather limited, and is far from being a debacle. More generally, various parties actually gained votes by the summer.

Governing parties in Europe, both populist and non-populist, tended to benefit from the rally-round-the-flag effect. In particular, right-wing populists in government in Europe have seen substantial growth in voting intentions when adopting the most stringent measures to contain the spread of the virus.

 

 

 

Right-Wing Populism Across Europe – PiAP’s First Video Series

This post initially appeared on EA Worldview


Through the spring and summer of 2020, amid the battle to check the spread of Coronavirus across Europe, the Populism in Action Project spoke via video with its Research Fellows to assess the effect of the pandemic on right-wing populist parties and their countries.

In May, Principal Investigator Daniele Albertazzi and Co-Investigator Stijn van Kessel spoke to EA Worldview’s Scott Lucas about the background to PiAP and its approach to studying populist radical right parties in Europe: how they develop mass political organizations, how they engage their members, and how they communicate with them and the public at large.

Populism and Media – From Poland to Switzerland

In July, Adrian Favero, the Research Fellow on Switzerland, discussed how the Swiss People’s Party communicates with its members and core supporters. In the video, he explains how the party complements its online activity with an investment of resource and energy into “traditional” means of communication — face-to-face meetings, events in public places, and legacy media such as print newsletters, local papers, and radio stations.

Understanding Right-Wing Populism in Belgium’s Flemish Region

Judith Sijstermans, Research Fellow in Belgium, spoke to Scott Lucas about the recent development of the Vlaams Belang Party in Flanders. Her interview outlines how how the party is altering its public image and building support, for instance through local associations running food banks and similar support projects for people affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Understanding Right-Wing Populism in Italy

In September, Mattia Zulianello, Research Fellow for Italy, discussed with Daniele Albertazzi the organizational development of Matteo Salvini’s League — a unique case of a regionalist party trying to establish itself as a national (and nationalist) one. He explained how the party’s traditional model of an engaged membership is evolving through the use of new media.

Understanding Right-Wing Populism in Finland

And Niko Hatakka spoke to us about how the Finns Party became a member of the populist radical right. He discussed changes in internal culture and organization as the party’s support in the country has grown under leader Jussi Halla-aho.

 

Coming Soon: A Special Issue on Populism Edited by PiAP’s Albertazzi and Van Kessel

PiAP’s Daniele Albertazzi and Stijn van Kessel are editing a special issue of the open-access journal Politics and Governance for publication in 2021.

The issue will be the first substantial presentation of PiAP’s research findings, exploring the organization and form that mass membership, right-wing populist parties adopt in western Europe.

In addition to focusing on the Project’s cases of Belgium, Finland, Italy, and Switzerland, the articles will make a major contribution to comparative understanding of right-wing populist parties more broadly. Thanks to a number of articles written by scholars from outside the research team, the special issue will also examine cases in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, and Slovakia. This will be one of the most extensive studies of how right wing populist parties organize, motivate and relate to their members and most committed supporters.

Contributions will examine:

1) To what extent and how the parties seek to develop a mass party-type organisation.

2) To what extent do the parties remain centralized in decision-making, including ideological direction, campaigning, and internal procedures.

3) Whether we can observe meaningful variation between older and newer RWPPs, and between RWPPs in long-established West European democracies and those in post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Between now and the publication of the special issue, we will continue to explore these questions through PiAP on EA WorldViewon Twitter, and on Facebook.

Video: Populism and Media — From Poland to Switzerland

This post originally appeared on EA Worldview

How are Europe’s populist parties using media in their pursuit of power?

With Presidential election results in Poland pointing to divides between older and younger voters, Scott Lucas talks to the Populism in Action Project’s Adrian Favero and Daniele Albertazzi about another European country with similar dynamics: Switzerland.

Adrian explains how the organizational model and organizing strategies adopted by the Swiss People’s Party effectively target key demographic groups voting for it, mainly by using traditional media and face-to-face interaction on the ground rather than focusing exclusively on online and social media.