Comparative Populism

This project brings together CEU and international scholars working on topics related to populism across different disciplinary traditions. The aim is to build up a comparative database on countries across Europe on the varieties of populist politics and policies across the region from the end of the Cold War to present and to explore the connections between populism on the one hand and gender, law, foreign policy, and party politics on the other. By joining the different methodological skills and perspectives across the different academic units, the project team can arrive at a multi-faceted understanding of why populism manifests more strongly in some countries than others in the same region, why it takes on social conservative dimension in some places and more nationalist/nativist dimension in others, and how all of this connects to gender, the law, foreign policy, public administration and party systems. CEU’s international student body provides a basis for recruiting social scientists who can help understand populism in their own countries and political contexts. The project will mainly focus on the countries of contemporary Eastern and Central Europe, but will expand the scope of the investigation in thee ways. First, it will extend its gaze backward to the interwar period (including connections between populism and fascism). It will also extend its focus beyond the region to a selection of countries notable for populist politics, such as Venezuela, Brazil, the US and the UK in order to arrive at more generalizable conclusions about the function of populism in public policy, party politics, public administration, the law and foreign policy. Finally, it involves a media analysis in a selection of Balkan countries to investigate the ways in which the recent refugee crisis has been gendered and sexualized to promote nationalist-populist narratives and policies in these countries