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Populism, extremism and the mainstream

  • Date(s)
    22 November 2012
  • Location
Populism, extremism and the mainstream

On November 22nd 2012, Policy Network held an expert workshop focusing on the relationship between extremism, populism and the mainstream in Europe. The event took place in Amsterdam and is jointly organised with the Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Dutch thinktank Wiardi Beckman Stichting.

The workshop was the second event in a Policy Network/Barrow Cadbury Trust research initiative which looks at the shifting nature of identity politics through the prism of populism, extremism and the mainstream. The initiative is aimed at investigating practical responses to identity challenges through policy, politics and campaigns, and will bring together some of the leading thinkers and campaigners in this field from across Europe.

The workshop opened with a conceptual presentation on the growth of populism: its drivers, its current state across Europe and scenarios on its trajectory. The second session used European case studies to analyse how populist and extremist parties are advancing their cause through electoral means – and study the responses of mainstream parties to this. The final session in turn looked at good examples of campaigns at a community and national level which have successfully neutralised antagonistic political forces.


SESSION I: Populism, extremism and the mainstream

Opening presentation:Rethinking populism
Paul Taggart
, professor, Sussex University and author of ‘Populism’ and editor of Government and Opposition

Populism and its impact on liberal democracy
Bram Spruyt, professor of Sociology, Free University of Brussels

The drivers of far-right populism and extremism
Peter Kreko, director, Political Capital Institute, Hungary

Moderator: Liesbet Van-Zoonen, professor of communication and media studies, Loughborough University and professor of popular culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam

SESSION II: The electoral challenge – the trajectory of populism in a politics of crisis

Austria: Sylvia Kritzinger, professor and head of the Methods in Social Sciences department, University of Vienna; principle investigator, Austrian National Election Study

Norway/ Nordics:
Anders Jupskås, political scientist, University of Oslo

Belgium: Teun Pauwels, political scientist, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Netherlands: Tjitske Akkerman, political scientist, University of Amsterdam

Moderator: Mathew Goodwin, associate professor of politics, University of Nottingham and associate fellow at Chatham House

SESSION III:  Response – campaigns, politics, policy

Beyond parties – responding to extremism on-the-ground
Martien Kuitenbrouwer, president of the board of Amsterdam West district council
Rafal Pankowski, Never Again Association: fighting extremism within football and beyond - grassroots, monitoring, education, research and policy
Nick Lowles, Hope not HATE, community cohesion and action

Political responses: social democracy - caught between populism and the mainstream?
Marietje Schaake, MEP, Dutch Democratic Party (D66)
Rene Cuperus, senior research fellow and deputy director of Wiardi Beckman Stichting, the thinktank of the Dutch Labour Party
Anthony Painter, Policy Network associate researcher and project leader for project  “Populism, extremism and the mainstream”

Moderator: Hajo G. Boomgaarden, assistant professor of political communication, University of Amsterdam

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