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Gendering the European Parliament

Populist Attitudes: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Insights

Political Psychology
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Marcel Lewandowsky
University of Florida
Panel Co-Chair
Nicole Marlen Loew
Freie Universität Berlin
Panel Discussant
Steven Van Hauwaert
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

25/08/2018 14:00 - 15:40
Building: VMP 8 Floor: 2 Room: 207
The study of attitudes is of increasing interest for scholars of populism. Populist attitudes describe specific orientations towards liberal democracy, based on two core positions: the indivisible political sovereignty of the people and a negative position towards the political elites (Mudde, 2004). In that sense, populist attitudes are defined as first, a specific perception of the democratic status quo and, secondly, the preference for authoritarian and anti-pluralist forms of democracy. Briefly, citizens with populist attitudes prefer the implementation of the will of the majority, e.g. executed by a strong leadership, to the institutions of liberal democracy that guarantee pluralism, minority rights and government control.
While there is a growing number of studies in the field (e.g. Akkerman et al., 2014; van Hauwaert and van Kessel, 2017), research on populist attitudes is still at its beginning. Consequently, one can observe an ongoing debate on theoretical, conceptual and empirical issues in this matter. For instance, there are lots of open questions regarding the influencing factors and consequences of populist attitudes among voters. While many studies have illustrated the political preferences of ‘populist’ citizens, explanations for patterns and change of populist attitudes are yet to be discovered. More specifically in terms of conceptual and methodological approaches, the used items as well as the methods of analysis vary heavily depending on the country-specific context.
The panel therefore gives space for different approaches to the topic. Scholars are invited to contribute by addressing theoretical and conceptual problems considering populist attitudes as well as empirical studies, both qualitative (case-oriented) and quantitative (cross-national and time-series comparison).

Akkerman A, Mudde C and Zaslove A (2014), How Populist Are the People? Measuring Populist Attitudes in Voters, Comparative Political Studies, 47 (9), 1324-1353.
Mudde C (2004), The Populist Zeitgeist, Government and Opposition, 39 (4), 541-563.
van Hauwaert S and van Kessel S (2017), Beyond protest and discontent: A cross-national analysis of the effect of populist attitudes and issue positions on populist party support, European Journal of Political Research [online first].

Paper List

Title Details
Disengaged and Uninformed? Political Knowledge and Interest Among Voters with Strong Populist Attitudes View Paper Details
How Many Different Types of Populists are There in Germany? A Multi-Method Approach with a Quasi-Representative Sample View Paper Details
Populist Attitudes, Spatial Considerations, and Electoral Availability View Paper Details
The Effects of Populist Political Communication on Populist Attitudes Across National Contexts in Europe View Paper Details
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