What do “the People” want? Online Populism in Europe and the US

You are at the website of a research project for studing online populism in Europe and the US. We are several European scholars from GESIS, SciencesPo and Oxford, who are convinced that, despite growing body of literature on populism, little is still known about what 'the people', who subscribe to populist ideas, actually believe in.

What people are willing to express in private or in the sources of information they seek is not necessarily reflected in traditional offline measurements such as surveys. The project intends to profit from the unfiltered perspective provided by digital traces that are left when people post on social network platforms like Twitter or browse websites. Specifically, we exploit the advantages of multiple data sources, using novel methods such as data mining, text analysis, web tracking and online experiments, as well as more established ones like online surveys, which we conduct in: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, the US.

There are three components of study: we use digital trace data like web tracking (1) and social media (2) to map what ‘the people’ want, and conduct surveys (3) to analyse whether and why they want similar or different things across Europe and the US. For specific cases, we are planning to use experimental research design to examine causal effects of exposure to online populist grievances on political outcomes.

You can find more details on every research component by clicking on the boxes below.

Project duration: 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021

Principle investigators: Ralph SchroederCaterina FroioSebastian Stier, Nora Kirkizh

Funding: The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (Volkswagen Stiftung)

Partner universities: University of Oxford, SciencesPo

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