Political Science News - Call for Papers

Section 52: Populism and Political Extremism: Between Change and Persistence

Charles University
Prague, Czech Republic
7 September, 2016 - 10 September, 2016
Application Deadline: 15 February, 2016

Steven M. Van Hauwaert, Université Catholique de Louvain
Caterina Froio, Sciences Po Paris


DEADLINE: 15 February 2016



For several decades now, populism and political extremism have been prominent political phenomena and have attracted wide scholarly attention. Initially, political research was mainly concerned with understanding the emergence and the potential challenges of populism and political extremism in contemporary democracies. Now, after an intensive research tradition of more than thirty years, scholars are investigating persistence, resilience and consolidation of these initially marginal phenomena. Populism and political extremism are often interpreted as a result of the shortcomings of the current political system/s, as they provide a continuous and inherent set of challenges to the functioning of contemporary European democracies. Numerous parties that represent such positions have both consolidated on an organisational (internal) and representational (external) level. The prominence and spread of such ideas throughout the vast majority of European electorates and democracies has been unmistakable.

Despite this, large-scale consensus remains generally absent, and this both on a conceptual and an empirical level. First, most divergent opinions still exist when scholarship addresses who the contemporary voices of populism and political extremism are and what exactly their messages are. Second, different views emerge when research touches upon the notion of ‘impact’ or ‘influence’, and particularly the extent or degree thereof. Third, even though scholars agree on the challenging nature of these phenomena as such, little convergence exists around how challenges are defined and to what extent (if at all) they change today’s politics. Populism and political extremism affect politics through different channels, either adopting ‘mainstream’ features or promoting change in traditional political agents/processes.
This invites further research, nourished by distinct paths and approaches, to broaden the overall understanding of these dynamics of change and persistence.

Call for Panels and Papers

This Section combines different conceptual, theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches in order to examine the multifaceted and persistent impact populism and political extremism have on the different layers of European democracies. This includes – but is not restricted to – research on

(i) conceptual/methodological debates surrounding populism and political extremism, 
(ii) the internal and external (supply-side) components of parties and partisan actors, 
(iii) individual and contextual determinants of support for populism and political extremism, 
(iv) on- and off-line discourses by populist and politically extremist actors, 
(v) direct or indirect paths towards political (policy) influence, and 
(vi) old and new patterns of mobilisation.

The Section will bring together several substantive and methodological research traditions from various disciplines, with a particular interest in those who seek to bridge some of these thematic areas. At the same time, this section seeks to harmonise and unify different analytical focuses. More specifically, we provide a comprehensive analysis by including 

(i) comparative contributions including – but limited to – CEE and West European countries, 
(ii) supply- and demand-side dynamics, 
(iii) national and supranational levels of analysis, and 
(iv) dynamics within and beyond the electoral arenas.

We do not favour any specific methodological approach over any other, but this Section particularly promotes mixed-method, comparative and innovative approaches.


Individual papers must be submitted online here. All authors and/or co-authors of a paper must have a MyECPR profile in order for the paper to be submitted. 

Full panel submissions must be submitted online here by the Panel Chairs (note, we can make changes to the names of the Panel Chairs/Co-Chairs/Discussants after the Panels have been submitted/approved). Panels must include 3-5 Papers, and all participants in the Panel (Chair/Co-Chair/Discussant/Paper presenter/Co-author) must have a MyECPR profile in order for the Panel to be submitted.

For any further questions regarding paper and/or panel submissions, please contact Steven M. Van Hauwaert (steven.vanhauwaert@uclouvain.be) or Caterina Froio (caterina.froio@eui.eu)

The Psychology of Political Participation and Social. Movement Activism: An Embedded Perspective

Charles University
Prague, Czech Republic
7 September, 2016 - 10 September, 2016
Application Deadline: 15 February, 2016
The ECPR General Conference Section 62[1], Prague 7-10 September 2016

Deadline for submissions 15 FEBRUARY 2016 via the MyECPR account[2].

Section Chair: Kateřina Vráblíková (University of Mannheim,
Section Co-Chair: Sonja Zmerli (Sciences Po Grenoble, sonja.zmerli@iepg.fr)

The decision to become active in politics originates in people’s minds.
Psychological factors, such as values, motivations and emotions, have been
found to be important triggers of political activism. Psychological forces
also mediate the effects of other factors determining people’s political
participation. Social movements and politicians play a prominent role in
the mobilization of emotions, values and opinions. Yet, psychological
factors are not only important for individual political behavior, but also
play a crucial role for collective outcomes, such as movements and protest

The section particularly focuses (1) on how psychological traits (norms,
values, attitudes, emotions and feelings, identity, knowledge, etc.)
interact with other factors influencing political action, such as
socio-political context, mobilization, material conditions and biological
traits, (2) on how psychological mechanisms connect those traits and
conditions with individual and collective participatory outcomes, and (3)
on the role of social movements in “psychology” of political action.
This section also aims to bring together qualitative and quantitative
approaches to the study of psychological factors and process in political
activism. Most qualitative studies formulate various psychological
mechanisms but do not really examine controlled effects on activism whereas
most of quantitative studies treat various psychological factors in a
rather isolated and static manner (unconditional effects of variables)
rather than as mechanisms or moderators. The goal of the section is to
integrate the two approaches and study psychology of political activism in
an embedded way.

We particularly invite paper proposals revolving around the following


Ideas for papers include discussions of whether different types of
cognitive mechanisms (e.g. commitment, moral shock) play a role in
triggering and performing different types of action (political violence,
charity work, voting etc.), how political actors frame emotions and
particular issues and their role in mobilization, what mechanisms tend to
explain the relationship between genetic predispositions, attitudinal
variables and political action, how various psychological processes
(identity change, judgments) contribute to large-scale participatory
outcomes like mobilization of movements, and new empirical applications of
the mechanism-based approach, etc.