The Populist Politics of Euroscepticism in Times of Crisis

Political Parties
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Andrea L. P. Pirro
Scuola Normale Superiore
Panel Co-Chair
Paul Taggart
University of Sussex
Panel Discussant
Stijn van Kessel
Queen Mary, University of London
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08/09/2017 09:00
Building: BL20 Helga Engs hus Floor: Basement Room: HE U36
With this panel, we set out to investigate and systematically tackle the intersection of populism and Euroscepticism in the face of the multiple European crises. Populism and Euroscepticism have surged to the level of empty signifiers in public debates; as we argue, the relationship between populism and Euroscepticism is neither necessary, nor consequential. Most importantly, even when these features are found in unison, they are liable to adapt to changing socioeconomic, cultural, and political circumstances. We believe that the crises that have hit the EU over the past decade offer critical instances of change – and it is indeed the crucial element of ‘crisis’ that we intend to factor into the equation. Crises have been long interpreted as macro-level background conditions favouring the surge of populist parties; however, very little attempts have been made to address how populists perform crises. The panel critically connects the unfolding of the Great Recession, the refugee crisis, and Brexit to the Eurosceptic discourse of populist parties across a number of cases.

While we are generally agnostic about the possibility that populist actors may have substantively altered the content of their oppositional discourses as a result of these crises, we nevertheless think that parties expressing Euroscepticism might strategically harden their opposition to the EU, and/or frame the issue differently according to changing circumstances. In addition, we are interested to address the question of changing/additional dimensions of contestation. In other words, what competition dynamics unfold following the co-optation of populist radical issues by mainstream political parties? Does competition shift towards other (i.e. EU-related) policy dimensions? And what are the effects released by populist Eurosceptic actors in the political process?

Paper List

Policy Versus Polity: Changing Euroscepticism at Times of Crisis? View Paper Details
The Populist Politics of Euroscepticism in Times of Crisis: Some Comparative Conclusions View Paper Details
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