Political and Media Populism

“Refugee crisis” in Slovenia and Austria

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The growing number of refugees fleeing to European countries along the Balkan route from war torn and economically devastated zones mainly in the Middle East fuelled the populist upsurge across Europe, including Slovenia and Austria, as refugees were increasingly regarded as dangerous, culturally deviant and as a threat to the national security and the welfare system.
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‘Slovenia, an international subject’: political and media populism (5.11.2019)
Iztok Šori and Emanuela Fabijan participated in a conversation on populism at the seminar of the Progressive academy entitled ‘Slovenia, an international subject’.

“Chameleonic populism” (20.9.2019)
The first findings of the analysis of populist speech in the case of parliamentary debates on seven laws related to migration in 2015-2019 in Slovenia have pointed to the dominant discursive frames that represent migration as a (security) threat, and sees its solutions in militarization and border protection.

Populism and emotional communication (10. 9. 2019)
Two team members of POP-MED project attended the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) conference that took place in Wroclaw in Poland, September 3-7, 2019.

Normalizing the Extreme Right (4. 7. 2019)
“From the most obvious case of the Trump presidency in the US and the success of right-wing populist parties in Europe to the election successes of right-wing extremists and populists in Brazil or in India, there is a worldwide trend to construct homogeneous peoples at the danger of disregarding – and often threatening in word and deed – democratic principles such as plurality, equality, and human rights.”

Populism intersecting politics and media (20. 6. 2019)
How to understand populism in contemporary party democracy, how it intersects the political and the media field, what are similarities and differences in manifestations of populism in Slovenia and Austria around migration and migration policy?

On dimensions of populism in Maribor (17. 5. 2019)
Researchers of the Political and media populism: »refugee crisis« in Slovenia and Austria research project at the Faculty of Arts in Maribor.

Discussion on populism and the upcoming European parliament elections (17. 4. 2019)
Cinema Europe in Zagreb hosted a discussion on April 15, 2019 on populism in the context of the up-coming European elections. The speakers included Mojca Pajnik from the Peace Institute, Berto Šalaj from the University of Zagreb and Anna Krasteva from New Bulgarian University.

The kick-off meeting (5. 1. 2019)
We have defined basic concepts and operationalized the research design for this three-year research endeavor.

About the project

This research investigates the nexus between political parties, media and populism with regard to the so-called “refugee crisis” (2015-2016 until today) in two countries at the central-north end of the Balkan route, i.e. Slovenia and Austria. Conceptual and historical background of the project is the erosion of “party democracy” and the rise of “populist democracy” with classical political leadership declining, coupled with the rising far-right political forces that mobilize against “the other”.

The growing number of refugees fleeing to European countries along the Balkan route from war torn and economically devastated zones mainly in the Middle East fuelled the populist upsurge across Europe, including Slovenia and Austria, as refugees were increasingly regarded as dangerous, culturally deviant and as a threat to the national security and the welfare system. In this context the “exclusionary populism” that proposes cultural and religious difference as the rationale for excluding those who do not belong to “the nation” has found its ground to flourish.

The research project proposes a novel analysis of “political-media populism” based on our previous research on media and internet populism (Pajnik and Sauer 2017). It encompasses the analysis of a) trends in politics and the policy making, b) trends in the media and journalism, and c) the related public perception on migration in comparative perspective. The project focuses on the populist production of “politics of fear and securitization” which addresses the emotions and affects of people and converts fear of social and economic decline into anger and hate against migrants. The dynamic interplay between political strategies and media representations – the “media-political parallelism” – is of central concern, i.e. how discourses in the legal, policy and journalistic field are reflected in public opinion and become common sense.

The research contributes to the development of science by devising an innovative approach to research “exclusionary populism” combining a) interdisciplinary b) scale-sensitive, c) policy tracing and framing, and d) comparative epistemological approach, together with mixed methods approach. The project adds the important but hitherto lacking media dimension to the growing debate on populism, it incorporates a new emotional and affective theoretical perspective into rather rationalist argumentations on populism, and it focuses on the currently most prominent issue of right-wing populist exclusion: the othering of migrants. By bringing new theoretical and empirical knowledge the project is expected to impact research in the fields of political science and communication science, in particular studies on populism, media and politics, emotion and politics, but also more generally, on studies of democracy and democratic inclusion/exclusion.

Project team

Peace institute

Mojca Pajnik, head of the project

mojca pajnik

Emanuela Fabijan

emanuela fabian

Mojca Frelih

Mojca Frelih

Marko Ribać

Marko Ribać

Neža Kogovšek Šalamon

Neža Kogovšek Šalamon

Iztok Šori

Iztok-Sori-370x278

University of Vienna

Birgit Sauer, head of the team in Vienna

Birgit Sauer

Otto Penz

Otto Penz

Daniel Thiele

Daniel Thiele

Funders

Project coordinator

Peace institute
Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies
Metelkova 6, 1000 Ljubljana
Phone: +386 1 234 77 20
Fax: +386 1 234 77 22
E-mail: info@mirovni-institut.si

The project website was created with the financial support of the Slovenian Research Agency. The content of the website is the responsibility of the Peace institute, and it is by no means considered to reflect the views of the Slovenian Research Agency and the FWF Austrian Science Fund.