Populism and Civic Engagement (PaCE)

Across Europe, there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the ‘ordinary people' - movements that can be loosely categorised as ‘populist'. Many of these movements have undesirable tendencies. PaCE, with others, aims to combat the negative tendencies of populist movements, to build upon the lessons of positive examples (such as Reykjavik), and hence play a part in constructing a firmer democratic and institutional foundation for the citizens of Europe.

PaCE will analyse the type, growth and consequences of such movements in terms of their particular characteristics and context. From this, it will analyse the causes of these movements and their specific challenges to liberal democracy a possibilistic analysis to complement survey/statistical approaches. In particular, it will focus on transitions in these movements (especially changes in leadership) as well as how they relate to other kinds of movements and the liberal reaction. PaCE will propose responses to these challenges, developing risk-analyses for each kind of response, each kind of movement and the type of transition. For this, it will employ the agent-based simulation of political processes and attitudes to allow thorough risk analyses to be made. Throughout the project, it will engage with citizens and policy actors, especially groups under-represented in public affairs, face-face and via new forms of democratic participation appropriate to our digital age to help guide the project and to comment on its outputs.

It will develop new tools, based on machine-learning algorithms for identifying and tracking populist narratives and to aid online consultation. It will result in specific interventions aimed at: the public, politicians, activists and educators. It will look further into the future, developing new visions concerning how we could respond to populism and it will warn about longer-term trends.

The Centre for Liberal Strategies will lead the work on analyzing causes, determining the risk factors and devising strategies for countering the negative tendencies of populism in Europe.

Daniel Smilov talks to leading researchers of the Populism and Civic Engagement project on the most significant research findings of the project

Professor Sven Engesser from the Technical University of Dresden

Professor Reinhard Heinisch from the University of Salzburg

Professor Bruce Edmunds of Manchester Metropolitan University

Period: Feburary 2019 - February 2022
Coordinators: Ruzha Smilova, Ivan Krastev, Daniel Smilov
Financing Organisation: European Comission
Political Studies European Union