“Populism and polarization – a dual threat to Europe’s liberal democracies?”

EUROLAB Authors’ Conference, 21 - 22 November 2019, Cologne/Germany


In recent years, European liberal democracies have increasingly come under strain. The rise of anti-establishment and sometimes openly anti-democratic populist parties, an increasing polarization and radicalization of publics and political discourse, and the expansion of alternative, hyperpartisan media fostering antagonism and propagating ideas incompatible with liberal democracy have left observers worrying. With several countries in Europe, like Poland and Hungary, already exhibiting manifest democratic recessions, scientific and public discourse revolve around how two worrying phenomena may endanger the stability of democracy: populism and polarization.

The 2019 EUROLAB Authors’ Conference brings together researchers addressing the core question of whether and how populism and polarization endanger the functioning and stability of liberal democracies across Europe.


Wednesday, 20.11.From 19:00

Welcome Reception

Thursday, 21.11.09:30-10:00

Welcome from the Conference Organizers

 10:00-10:45Democratic horizons: what value change tells us about the authoritarian challenge to
liberal democracy - Christian Welzel
 10:45-11:00Coffee break
 11:00-11:45Left behind by the German state? The relationship between local public service provision and political trust - Anne-Kathrin Stroppe
 11:45-12:30How ideology shapes the relationship between populist attitudes and support for democracy. Observational and experimental evidence. - Marc Guinjoan, Guillem Rico
 12:30-13:30Lunch break
 13:30-14:15The party’s on social media: elite political communication on Hungarian Twitter - Sean Kates, Joshua A. Tucker
 14:15-15:00The rise of illiberal democrats? Populist parties and the politicization of democratic principles - Tarik Abou-Chadi, Sarah Engler, Theresa Gessler, Lucas Leemann

Coffee break

 15:15-16:00Populist attitudes and selective exposure to news: a cross-country analysis linking surveys and web browsing data - Sebastian Stier, Nora Kirkizh, Caterina Froio, Ralph Schroeder
 16:00-16:45Audiences of (hyper-)partisan and alternative media online - Heidi Schulze
 16:45-17:30Vernacular traditionalism: pan-European identitarianism on fringe web fora - Marc Tuters, Ivan Kisjes, Emillie de Keulenaar
 18:30Conference Dinner (external venue)
Friday, 22.11.09:30-10:15Exposure to the other side(s): affective polarization in a Western European multi-party system - Lars Erik Berntzen
 10:15-11:00A tough trade-off? The diverging effects of populist radical right parties’ inclusion in government on (non-)nativists’ satisfaction with democracy and government - Stefan Dahlberg, Eelco Harteveld, Andrej Kokkonen, Jonas Linde
 11:00-11:15Coffee break
 11:15-12:00Immigration policies and political support: a survey experiment - Stephan Simon
 12:00-12:45Are radical-right populist parties only bad for some democracies? - Marlene Mauk
 12:45-13:45Lunch break
 13:45-14:30Winning is all that matters: do winning an election and political institutions affect populist voters' satisfaction with democracy and political trust in Europe? - Maria Quaranta, Sergio Martini
 14:30-15:15The influence of parties on voters' satisfaction with democracy: evidence from discontinuity design applied to European Social Survey - Miroslav Nemčok
 15:15-15:30Coffee break
 15:30-16:15Reconciling populist voters with democracy through elections? The case of AfD voters in the 2017 German federal elections - Ann-Kathrin Reinl, Constantin Schäfer
 16:15-17:00Threat or corrective? The relationship between populism and different models of democracy - Anna Lührmann, Saskia Ruth-Lovell, Sandra Grahn
 17:00-17:30Summary statement, next steps, good-bye


>> You may also download the program here

If you are interested in attending the conference, please email us at eurolab(at)gesis(dot)org
Selected papers will be published in a special issue of Politics & Governance, edited by Jonas Linde, Marlene Mauk, and Heidi Schulze. For the call for papers, please see here


Fritz Thyssen Stiftung logo

The authors' conference is sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation