Populism in Europe – The League Yesterday and Today (Virtual Event 20/10/21)

Join us on Wednesday 20th of October 2021 at 16:00 (UK time) for a virtual seminar considering and responding to the newly published Populism in Europe – The Lesson’s from Umberto Bossi’s Northern League, by Prof. Daniele Albertazzi (Surrey) and Dr. Davide Vampa (Aston).

Abstract

One of the oldest right-wing populist parties in Western Europe, and one that has accumulated considerable experience in government at both national and subnational levels, the League – previously Northern League – has much to teach us (and other parties) about how populists can achieve rootedness and success. In this roundtable chaired by Amelia Hadfield (University of Surrey), we will interrogate the reasons behind the party’s resilience, the importance of grassroots organisation, and the involvement of party members in its activities. The recently published book Populism in Europe – Lesson’s from Umberto Bossi’s Northern League co-authored by Daniele Albertazzi (University of Surrey) and Davide Vampa (Aston University) will provide a starting point for a discussion with Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University) and the audience about the party’s origins and institutionalisation under the leadership of its founder. The book, based on a systematic analysis of a large amount of original quantitative and qualitative data, stresses the importance of the Northern League’s consistent and coherent ideology, its strong organisation and its ability to create communities of loyal partisan activists. The fact that today’s League has achieved unprecedented electoral success under the new leadership of Matteo Salvini cannot be fully understood and explained without investigating its past. Notwithstanding his transformative role within the party, Salvini can be regarded as Bossi’s heir in political terms. Hence the findings of the book will be linked to the work by Mattia Zulianello (University of Trieste) on “the League of Matteo Salvini”, which shows how recent ideological and organisational transformations are not devoid of contradictions and are still influenced by (and in tension with) Bossi’s legacy.

Panelists

  • Chair, Prof. Amelia Hadfield (University of Surrey)
  • Prof. Daniele Albertazzi (University of Surrey)
  • Dr. Davide Vampa (Aston University)
  • Dr. Mattia Zulianello (University of Trieste)
  • Discussant, Dr.  Arianna Giovannini (DeMontfort University)

More details and registration form here

“Right-Wing Populist Party Organisation across Europe: The Survival of the Mass-Party?” PiAP at ECPR 2021

At this year’s European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference (taking place online, 30th August-3rd September 2021) the Populism in Action Team will be leading and participating in a panel entitled Right-Wing Populist Party Organisation across Europe: The Survival of the Mass-Party? which will present key research findings from the project. The panel will be chaired by PiAP’s Dr. Judith Sijstermans (University of Birmingham), Co-Chaired by PiAP’s Dr. Stijn van Kessel (Queen Mary, University of London), with Prof. Sarah De Lange (University of Amsterdam) as the Discussant. 

Panel Abstract

This panel analyses the nature of populist radical right party (PRRP) organisations and the relationship between PRRP organisations, leaders, and party members. We present initial results of our comparative research project which studies long-established PRRP parties in Western Europe: the League in Italy, the Flemish Interest in Belgium, the Swiss People’s Party, and the Finns. PRRPs are often still associated with centralised and ‘charismatic’ leadership, but we find that several PRRPs have invested in creating organisations more similar to the ‘mass party’ model, in which parties actively recruit members and create communities of loyal partisan activists.

In our four case study papers, we explore how party elites attempt to foster involvement, activism and loyalty from the party base. We analyse how these efforts are managed within each party’s, often highly centralised, organisational structures. Through these in-depth case studies, our papers also reflect on the nature and development of the mass party model in the current era. Our panel will conclude with a comparative analysis of all four cases. This analysis explores the extent to which personalisation and centralisation have helped to manage organisational tensions in PRRPs and to facilitate changes in leadership. It will also reflect on the importance of these organisational structures and dynamics for populist parties today.

Panelists 

1. Dr. Mattia Zulianello (University of Birmingham) – Fostering and Exporting a Modern Mass Party: Agency and Structure in Salvini’s League

2. Dr. Niko Hatakka (University of Birmingham) – Between horizontality and centralization: Organizational form and practice in the Finns Party

3. Adrian Favero (University of Birmingham) – Rootedness, Activism and Centralisation: The Case of the Swiss People’s Party

4. Judith Sijstermans (University of Birmingham) – The Vlaams Belang: A Mass Party of the 21st century

5. Stijn van Kessel (Queen Mary University of London; presenting), Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham) – The Survival of the Mass Party: Centralisation, Rootedness and Control Among Populist Radical Right Parties (PRRPs) in Europe

Programme details: A programme for this year’s ECPR General Conference will be released presently. It will be available via the Consortium’s website – where registration has already opened.

Listen to New Patterns of Political Competition in W. Europe: Populists vs. Populists

On the 24th February 2021 the Populism in Action Project convened a virtual seminar to discuss the book Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe published in Routledge’s Extremism & Democracy series and edited by Dr. Daniele Albertazzi (Populism in Action’s Principal Investigator) and Dr. Davide Vampa.

A recording was made which can be heard here:

Listen here

The seminar explores how, and to what effect, populist parties of both the left and the right compete within the same political system. It presents the overall typology of populist party competition used in “Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe” and focus on the Greek, Flemish and British cases.

Chair: Dr. Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham)

Discussion included the following participants:

Donatella Bonansinga (University of Birmingham)
Dr. Emmanouil Tsatsanis (EKKE)
Dr. Judith Sijstermans (University of Birmingham)
Dr. Davide Vampa (Aston University)

Populism in Action at the PSA International Conference 2021

This week all of the Populism in Action Project’s Research Team will be taking part in the 2021 Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual International Conference. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency this year’s conference is taking place online but it is virtually hosted by Queen’s University Belfast.

Populism in Action’s research will be presented at two panels, one taking place on the 30th March (15:30-17:00) and one taking place on 31st March (09:00-10:30).

Panel 824: “The Survival of the Mass Party? Discussing Party Organisation among Populist Radical Right Parties (Prrps) in Europe”

15:30-17:00, 30th March 2021

This panel is dedicated to the Populism in Action Project’s ESRC- funded research and will be chaired by our principal investigator, Daniele Albertazzi while the discussant will be Antonella Seddone. The four research fellows Adrian Favero, Niko Hatakka, Judith Sijstermans and Mattia Zulianello, will present the findings of Phases 1 and 2 of their research.

They will discuss how the League, Flemish Interest, Swiss People’s party and Finns party are organised, with a particular focus on power relations within them.

Panel 923: Why Do Populists Succeed? Government Experiences, Discursive Strategies and Party Organisation

09:00-10:30, 31st March 2021

In this panel Populism in Action’s Principal Investigator Daniele Albertazzi and Co-Investigator Stijn van Kessel, will present some of the project’s research findings.

Their paper is entitled: “Why Do Populists Succeed?: The Survival of the Mass Party: Centralisation, Rootedness and Control Among Populist Radical Right Parties (PRRPs) in Europe”

Drawing on Populism in Action’s comparative research, this presentation maps the formal and informal organisational structures of the League, the Flemish Interest, the Finns Party, and the Swiss People’s Party. It compares these parties’ institutional structures, and degrees of centralisation.

Daniele Albertazzi to be Keynote Speaker at the 6th Prague Populism Conference

Dr. Daniele Albertazzi – Populism in Action’s Principal Investigator – will be keynote speaker at the 6th Prague Populism Conference (17th-19th May 2021).

His keynote will draw upon research undertaken as part of the Populism in Action Project to consider the role of personalisation and centralisation amongst European populist radical right parties. He will discuss the extent to which party elites have reinforced their power through formal organisational structures and informal influence.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this year’s conference will take place online. However, the event (organised annually since 2014 by Charles University in Prague) has rapidly established itself as a key forum for communicating research into the populist political phenomenon. The central topic that this year’s event will be exploring is Current populism in Europe: What has changed since the start of the pandemic?

In addition to Dr. Albertazzi keynote speakers include Prof. Nonna Mayer of Sciences Po.

New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe: Populists vs. Populists

Join us on Wednesday 24th of February at 16:30 for a seminar exploring the increasingly significant and prominent phenomenon of intra-populist party competition in Western European Polities.

Drawing upon research presented in the recently published co-edited: “Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe”, co-edited: by Dr. Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham) and Dr. Davide Vampa (Aston University) or undertaken through the Populism in Action Project (led by Dr. Daniele Albertazzi at the University of Birmingham and Dr. Stijn van Kessel at Queen Mary, University of London), the discussion will include the following participants:

  • Donatella Bonansinga (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr. Emmanouil Tsatsanis (EKKE)
  • Dr. Judith Sijstermans (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr. Davide Vampa (Aston University)

It will be chaired by Dr. Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham).

The seminar will explore how and to what effect populist parties of both the left and the right, compete within the same political system. It will utilise and present the overall typology of populist parties and populist party competition used in “Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe” and present the Greek, Flemish and British cases.

Register for this event here

*Please note that the presentations from this session will be recorded*

This seminar is hosted by the Department of POLSIS at the University of Birmingham and facilitated by the ESRC funded Populism in Action project led by Daniele Albertazzi and Stijn van Kessel.

Daniele Albertazzi’s Co-Edited Book on Populism in Western Europe Launched at REPRESENT Seminar

On Wednesday 27th January Populism in Action’s Principal Investigator, Daniele Albertazzi, launched his new book: Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe, at a REPRESENT Seminar.

REPRESENT is a research collaboration between political scientists at the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham, with a particular interest in party organisation, formation and competition and their place in contemporary democracy. The event – which was held online – attracted over fifty participants, with attendees joining the call from across Europe, North America as well as other parts of the world.

The book, co-edited by Daniele with Davide Vampa of Aston University, and published as part of Routledge’s Extremism & Democracy series, 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.

You can find a link to the book on the Routledge website here

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 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.