Rise and causes of populism in Europe under the spotlight in new project

Pan-European team to help tackle negative aspects of populism

The PaCE project aims to combat the negative tendencies of populist movements

The PaCE project aims to combat the negative tendencies of populist movements

The causes and responses to populism in Europe will be scrutinised in a new project led by Manchester Metropolitan’s Centre for Policy Modelling.

Researchers will analyse the characteristics and consequences of populist movements – and the challenges faced by liberal democracies.

The pan-European team will look at how the different types of populist movements grow – particularly during changes of leadership – and spot longer-term political trends.

The aim is to develop new tools for identifying and tracking populist narratives, as well as aiding the effective use of online tools to help citizens get their voices heard and to encourage public participation in governance.

The research will also develop interventions to encourage democracy and tackle the negative aspects of populism, which will be aimed at the public, politicians, activists and educators.

Across Europe, there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the 'ordinary person'

The Populism and Civic Engagement (PaCE) project will see Manchester Metropolitan work in partnership with eight organisations across Europe to coordinate new research over the coming months, with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research scheme.

Professor Bruce Edmonds, Director of the Centre for Policy Modelling at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “Across Europe, there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the 'ordinary person' - movements that can be loosely categorised as 'populist'. Many of these movements have undesirable tendencies.

“The PaCE project aims to combat the negative tendencies of populist movements, to build upon the lessons of positive examples and hence play a part in constructing a firmer democratic and institutional foundation for the citizens of Europe.”

The nine partner organisations involved in PaCE came together at Manchester Metropolitan’s Business School on February 6 and 7, to launch the project.

In particular, the researchers will focus on transitions in populist movements – especially the changes in leadership – as well as how they relate to other kinds of movements and the liberal reaction.

Professor Edmonds added: “Throughout the project, we will engage with citizens and policy actors, especially groups under-represented in public affairs, face-to-face and via new forms of democratic participation appropriate to our digital age to help guide the project and to comment on its outputs.”

The project will also look further into the future, developing new visions around the responses to populism.

The European partners involved in PaCE are:

For more information on the Centre for Policy Modelling at Manchester Metropolitan, visit cpfm.org

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

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