CALL FOR PAPERS – 68th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Cardiff, 26-28 March 2018

The Populism Specialist Group of the PSA invites paper proposals on the following theme:

 
Themes and orientations in populism research
Populism is politics’ buzzword and its impact is being felt across the globe, but beyond a widespread concern about its explosive appearance, there’s little agreement about what the phenomenon is, the reasons behind its surge, what factors in our current conjuncture facilitated it, and what it indicates about ‘the human condition’. The Populism Specialist Group seeks papers that confront these questions, paying particular attention to: what populism indicates about the role of representation and antagonism in politics; whether there are different variants of populism such as right-wing and
left-wing, or even a populism of the centre; the impact of communication and mediation on the populist explosion; the advantages of qualitative and quantitative methods in researching populism; and more general considerations about the relationship between populism and politics and/or the political at the local, national and trans-national level.

E-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to Emmy Eklundh: emmy.eklundh@kcl.ac.uk

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The Populism and British Politics Specialist Groups of the PSA invite paper proposals on the following theme:

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!: Left-wing populism in contemporary Britain?

In the snap election of June 8th, 2017, the results shocked the political commentariat when the Labour party successfully challenged the Conservatives and stripped them of their parliamentary majority. Although the Conservatives picked up seats in Scotland and managed to secure an understanding with the ideologically socially-conservative Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, and thus remain in power, there are many questions to be asked about the rise of the Labour party, and the role of populism therein. Jeremy Corbyn has as a controversial leader brought the party leftwards, and unapologetically put forward a range of policy proposals reminiscent of a more traditional continental social democratic party, unseen in the British Labour party since the arrival of Blairism. On the other hand, there are also debates as to whether Corbyn has employed populist strategies in order to incite the electorate, and in particular the youth. In this panel, we are looking for papers contributing to this wide-ranging debate. Topics could include, but are not limited to, the place of ‘the People’ and of the antagonism between “the Many” and “the Few” in Corbyn’s discourse, the multi-national dimensions of populism throughout the UK, the role of Momentum in involving the grassroots in the electoral campaign, the conflict between Corbyn and the Parliamentary Labour party, the tensions within the party in differing nations within the UK and tensions within the party in England, especially on national versus regional issues, and the voting patterns of BREXIT supporters, as well as discursive strategies on social media and in youth culture.

E-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to Emmy Eklundh: emmy.eklundh@kcl.ac.uk

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The Populism and French Politics Specialist Groups of the PSA invite paper proposals on the following theme:

The French 2017 elections: How many populisms?

The 2017 French presidential election has been surprising in many ways, not least because of the rise (or return) of populist leaders on the main political stage. Indeed, in the second round of the elections two “outsiders” were competing for the highest office, leaving behind the two mainstream parties, the Socialists and the Republicans. Many have argued that French politics was undergoing a grave transformation, mirroring developments in other European countries, such as Spain or Italy, and that this could be debated as a “populist moment”. In this panel, we take stock of these debates, and investigate the role of populism in the French election. We ask questions such as, but not limited to, whether Macron could indeed be referred to as a populist, whether Le Pen is using the populist label to conceal the extreme right and racist facets of her party, and if and how Melenchon is challenging the idea of left-wing politics in France from a left-wing populist perspective. We welcome submissions from scholars researching the French case with a specific focus on the populist components of either the left or the right, or, in the case of Macron, of the centre.

E-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to Emmy Eklundh: emmy.eklundh@kcl.ac.uk

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The Populism Specialist Group of the PSA invites paper proposals on the following theme:

Populism and passions: “Mad masses” and “Strategic masterminds”

With the recent rise of populist parties, a range of stereotypical statements regarding their nature often circulate in the public sphere. Whether coming from friends or critics, it is often supposed that populist parties, and in particular their leaders, try to make emotionally-laden arguments and thus move the debate away from a rational discussion. Populists are therefore regarded as manipulative, inciting emotional responses in the masses who are unable to make decisions based on informed opinions. These assumptions carry several implications: First, that populism is a form of political
communication based solely on the emotional and passionate, thus being unable to formulate realistic policy proposals. Second, these assumptions rely on a stark division between emotion and reason, assuming that political actors are either emotional or rational, where populists are often paired with the former, and mainstream politics with the latter. Third, it is assumed that the leadership of a populist party must be realized through a charismatic persona, which can invoke the necessary passionate response from the People. In this panel, we are looking for papers that engage with the question of emotions and reason in relation to populism. The panel will question and interrogate some of the most common assumptions regarding populist politics, through (a) a range of
reflexive arguments and (b) analyses of relevant empirical cases. As such, the panel welcomes paper submissions from a diverse spectrum of empirical and theoretical perspectives.

E-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to Emmy Eklundh: emmy.eklundh@kcl.ac.uk

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The Populism Specialist Group of the PSA invites paper proposals on the following theme:

Populism and social media: Communication, rhetorics, and new technologies

It has been argued that recent developments in populist politics are tightly intertwined with the rise of the social media, and that many populist political projects could not have been realized without the possibility of engaging in such “horizontal” forms of political communication. For instance, it is often argued that social media have enabled “the People” to partake in the public debate to a larger extent, and that they have thus contributed to a more democratic political participation. On the other hand, it has also been argued that social media may not be as horizontal as previously thought, and that even though they increase accessibility, they are also subject to strong trends of centralization. In this panel, we will engage with questions around the effect of social media on populist political mobilization and parties. Do they contribute to their success? How do populist parties use social media? How are populist movements and parties shaped by the advances in technology, and to what extent is political communication constrained by the materiality of technological innovation? We welcome papers from a wide range of empirical and theoretical perspectives.

E-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to Emmy Eklundh: emmy.eklundh@kcl.ac.uk

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The Populism and Political Economy Specialist Groups of the PSA invite paper proposals on the following theme:

Populism and political economy

This panel seeks to encourage the cross-pollination of analytical insights and approaches between contemporary populism studies and political economy. There is a growing consensus amongst scholars of populism on a definition of populism as an ideational/discursive political phenomenon. This work, mostly done by political scientists and theorists, however, has predominantly focused on the political dimension of populism and its impact on liberal democracies in Europe, leaving the economic dimension of populism largely unaddressed. To address this gap in the literature, we invite papers that combine the study of populism in Europe with political economy analysis. Some of the questions that papers could address are: (1) Can we attribute the conditions for the recent rise of populism to specific economic policy paradigms? (2) What are the defining features of populist economic programmes? (3) Do populists offer alternative policy frameworks to the (neo)liberal economic orthodoxy?

E-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contactdetails) to Emmy Eklundh: emmy.eklundh@kcl.ac.uk

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Internal Deadline for Paper Proposals: 20 October 2017.

Applicants will be notified whether they have been included in the PSG’s panel proposals ahead of the final (non-negotiable) PSA deadline (3 November 2017).

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