RethinkingPopulism

IN THIS PROJECT, WE PROPOSE A FRESH APPROACH TO POPULISM AND TEST IT AGAINST THE PORTUGUESE CASE, FROM A COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE.

What is
this
project
about?

Why study populism? Because populism is on the rise, left and right. Talk of populism is all around us: countless talk shows, columns and op-eds have been devoted to it and everyone seems to have a strong opinion on its dangers. Yet, both outside and inside academia, what populism is remains elusive and how it works is poorly understood. Half a century of populist research has failed to reach a consensus about a minimal definition of populism. It has today several different meanings, an implicit normative duplicity, and its operationalization remains at the very least challenging.

In this project, we propose a fresh approach to populism and test it against the Portuguese case, from a comparative perspective. The period in study is 2011-2015, the chief agents are political parties, social movements and the Constitutional Court. Our empirical corpus is these collective agents’ public discourses. Theoretically, it supersedes both ontic and ontological approaches to populism that have dominated the literature since the 1960s, and focuses instead on the work of articulation of contents within the logic of resentment that characterises it. Methodologically, Portugal is conceived as a negative case. We hypothesise that the performative articulation of the populist logic of resentment by Portuguese political parties, turning a part of the Portuguese against another part in the name of the “people,” failed to translate into electoral success. Our aim is the full identification and understanding of the distinctive features of the Portuguese case and of the reasons behind the relative underachievement of most populist strategies in Portugal. To shed further light on these dimensions, our study has a comparative dimension with Spain, where the Podemos party nearly tripled its share of the national vote between mid-2014 and late 2015.

The project is funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) and is based at Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa. The beginning of the research will take place in 2018 and will be completed in 2020.

The Team

Filipe Carreira da Silva

Principal investigator

Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon

Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). He is also Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He received his MPhil degree from ICS-UL in 2002. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Cambridge (2003). He was awarded the Habilitation in Sociology in 2016 (ICS-UL). He has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Chicago, Harvard, Yale and Jerusalem. He has published dozens of articles and several books on social and political theory, including the award-winning Mead and Modernity (Rowan and Littlefield, 2008). His current research interests revolve around sociological theory, urban political sociology, and citizenship studies.

Mónica Brito Vieira

University of York

Professor of Politics, University of York, United Kingdom. She received her MA (2001) and PhD (2005) degrees in the history of political thought from the University of Cambridge. Between 2005 and 2008 she held a Junior Research Fellowship at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, where she now holds a permanent Visiting Fellowship. Before moving to York, in 2012, she served as a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). Her overlapping areas of interest are the history of political thought, contemporary political theory and intellectual history. In recent years, her research has focused on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and on the history and theory of political representation.

Catherine Moury

New University of Lisbon

Assistant Professor, New University of Lisbon. Born in Belgium, obtained the PhD in Italy (Siena University, 2005). Her research and publications focus on subjects as diverse as: the recent bail out in Portugal, Parliamentary Opposition, Institutional Change in the European Union and Coalition Governments. She is the author of  Coalition Government and Party Mandate: How coalition agreements constrain ministerial action (Routledge, 2012) and Changing rules of delegation: A contest of Power for comitology (with A. Héritier, C. Bisschoff e C-F. Bergström, Oxford University Press, 2012).

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Luca Manucci

Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon

Assistant Researcher, POPULUS project, Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Zurich (2017). He has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Santiago de Chile (Diego Portales University) and Budapest (Central European University). He has published in international journals and authored a book on populism and collective memory (Routledge, forthcoming). His current research interests include comparative politics, populism, political communication, and political parties. He has a blog on populism: populismobserver.com.

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David Larraz

Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon

David Veloso Larraz is a researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and member of POPULUS project. Between 2015 and 2019 he has been a policy advisor of the Podemos party. He graduated in Sociology from the University of Granada and Anthropology from Complutense University of Madrid. He completed a master’s degree on Public Policy, Urban Management and Participatory Research Methods. His main research interests include democracy, populism and left-wing political parties, particularly within the Latin America and Southern Europe context. He is currently doing a PhD in comparative politics about why there is no populism in Portugal and Uruguay.

Pedro Mendonça

Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon

Pedro Mendonça, researcher and member of the POPULUS project. Is a PhD in Political Studies from the Instituto de Ciências Sociais, with the thesis “Democracy, Populism and Economic Globalization – An extension of the selectorate theory”. He was a visiting scholar at the Universities of Salamanca and Swansea. Current research interests are stratification and inferiority through the approaches of Cultural Political Economy and Critical Discourse Analysis.

Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). He is also Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He received his MPhil degree from ICS-UL in 2002. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Cambridge (2003). He was awarded the Habilitation in Sociology in 2016 (ICS-UL). He has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Chicago, Harvard, Yale and Jerusalem. He has published dozens of articles and several books on social and political theory, including the award-winning Mead and Modernity (Rowan and Littlefield, 2008). His current research interests revolve around sociological theory, urban political sociology, and citizenship studies.

Professor of Politics, University of York, United Kingdom. She received her MA (2001) and PhD (2005) degrees in the history of political thought from the University of Cambridge. Between 2005 and 2008 she held a Junior Research Fellowship at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, where she now holds a permanent Visiting Fellowship. Before moving to York, in 2012, she served as a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). Her overlapping areas of interest are the history of political thought, contemporary political theory and intellectual history. In recent years, her research has focused on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and on the history and theory of political representation.

Assistant Professor, New University of Lisbon. Born in Belgium, obtained the PhD in Italy (Siena University, 2005). Her research and publications focus on subjects as diverse as: the recent bail out in Portugal, Parliamentary Opposition, Institutional Change in the European Union and Coalition Governments. She is the author of  Coalition Government and Party Mandate: How coalition agreements constrain ministerial action (Routledge, 2012) and Changing rules of delegation: A contest of Power for comitology (with A. Héritier, C. Bisschoff e C-F. Bergström, Oxford University Press, 2012).

More info

Assistant Researcher, POPULUS project, Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL). He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Zurich (2017). He has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Santiago de Chile (Diego Portales University) and Budapest (Central European University). He has published in international journals and authored a book on populism and collective memory (Routledge, forthcoming). His current research interests include comparative politics, populism, political communication, and political parties. He has a blog on populism: populismobserver.com.

More info

David Veloso Larraz is a researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and member of POPULUS project. Between 2015 and 2019 he has been a policy advisor of the Podemos party. He graduated in Sociology from the University of Granada and Anthropology from Complutense University of Madrid. He completed a master’s degree on Public Policy, Urban Management and Participatory Research Methods. His main research interests include democracy, populism and left-wing political parties, particularly within the Latin America and Southern Europe context. He is currently doing a PhD in comparative politics about why there is no populism in Portugal and Uruguay.

Pedro Mendonça, researcher and member of the POPULUS project. Is a PhD in Political Studies from the Instituto de Ciências Sociais, with the thesis “Democracy, Populism and Economic Globalization – An extension of the selectorate theory”. He was a visiting scholar at the Universities of Salamanca and Swansea. Current research interests are stratification and inferiority through the approaches of Cultural Political Economy and Critical Discourse Analysis.

BOOKS

Silva, F.C. and Brito Vieira, M. Rethinking Populism. The Politics of Democratic Resentment in Comparative Perspective. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming.

 Héritier, A., and Katharina L Meissner, Catherine Moury, Magnus G Schoeller. European Parliament ascendant: parliamentary strategies of self-empowerment in the EU. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

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ARTICLES

Moury, C. and A Afonso. (2019). “Beyond conditionality: policy reversals in Southern Europe in the aftermath of the Eurozone crisis”. South European Society and Politics 24 (2), 155-176.

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Moury, C. and D. Cardoso, A Gago. (2019). “When the lenders leave town: veto players, electoral calculations and vested interests as determinants of policy reversals in Spain and Portugal”. South European Society and Politics 24 (2), 177-204.

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Silva, F.C. and Brito Vieira, M. (2019). “Populism as a Logic of Political Action”. European Journal of Social Theory, 22(4), 497-512. Translation into Spanish: (2019). “El populismo como lógica de acción política”, Theorein. Revista de Ciencias Sociales, 1 (4), 23-53.

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Silva, F.C. and Brito Vieira, M. (2018). “Populism and the Politics of Redemption”. Thesis Eleven, 149, 10–30.

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Vieira, M.B. (2019). “Making Up and Making Real”. History of European Ideas.

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BOOK CHAPTERS

Silva, F.C. and Salgado, S. (2018), “Why no Populism in Portugal?”, in M.C. Lobo, F.C. Silva and J.P. Zúquete (eds), Citizenship in Crisis, pp. 248-265, Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais.

PAPERS PRESENTED TO CONFERENCES

Summer course 2019 – Populisms, held in Óbidos, Portugal, 16-18 September, 2019. Papers presented: Filipe Carreira da Silva, “On the Origins of Populism. Redistribution, recognition and resentment”; Luca Manucci, “Populism and Collective Memory: Comparing Fascist Legacies in Western Europe”.

XIV European Sociological Association Conference, held in Manchester, United Kingdom, 20-23 August 2019. Paper presented by Filipe Carreira da Silva: “Why No Populism in Portugal? Lessons from Lisbon.” 

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, held in New York City, United States, 9-13 August 2019. Papers presented by Filipe Carreira da Silva: “Populism and the Politics of Redemption” in Political Sociology Refereed Roundtables; “Rethinking the Time’s Arrow. Beginnings and the Sociology of the Future” in Theory Section Refereed Roundtables.

“Ethics, Values and Politics” Conference, sponsored by FFMS, held in Lisbon, 1 June 2019. Chair: Mónica Brito Vieira.

Link

Frontiers XXI – Populisms in Europe. 90 minutes TV programme on the rise of populism in Europe with three guests, include the Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Chair: Mónica Brito Vieira.

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