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Are we all populists?

José Santana Pereira (ESPP/CIES-ISCTE)

21 march 2022, 19h00-20h30
Salão Brazil (Coimbra)

Moderator: Lisete Mónico (FPCEUC/CINEICC)


Recent research has identified very high average levels of populist attitudes in several European countries, including Portugal. Does this mean we are all populists? In this conversation with the public, José Santana Pereira looks in detail at the results of his research, identifying patterns, types and variations in the populist attitudes expressed by citizens.

In order to invite all interested people to talk about the themes of populism and emotions, the project's research team UNpacking POPulism: Comparing the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour, coordinated at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra, organises this open conversation with researcher José Santana Pereira to question whether "Are we all populists?". In addition to José Pereira's presentation, the event will also feature moderation by Sofia José Santos.

This conversation open to the public is part of the 'UNPOP event cycle - Populism and emotions', whose purpose is to create a platform for multidisciplinary discussion on the formation of narratives of emotion and their effects on political behaviour, with a focus on populism. While the success of populist phenomena is reportedly largely attributed to their ability to mobilise the emotions of 'ordinary' people, there is little debate as to how legitimate these emotions are and how they contribute to shaping political representation. This debate turns to the vibrant topic of the relationship between reason and emotion and the limits of both in society. The mobilising potential of emotions in populist discourses is often seen as alien to democratic practices, or a distorted and irrational version of political discourse. The 'UNPOP' cycle of events will promote several discussions involving - and challenging - this premise.

In turn, this cycle of events is part of the UNPOP project, which has as its main objective to explore how narratives of emotion allow a deeper analysis of the way populist phenomena constitute and influence political behaviour. Thus, the cycle of events developed throughout the project will address several issues involving the recent rise of populism, with a focus on the role of emotions - both those taken as negative such as anger and fear, and those taken as positive such as hope and love - in political behaviour.

Coordinated by Cristiano Gianolla e Lisete Mónico and institutionally hosted by the Centre for Social Studies and CINEICC - Research Centre in Neuropsychology and Cognitive-Behavioural Intervention - of the University of Coimbra, the UNPOP project is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P. (PTDC/CPO-CPO/3850/2020).

Bio note

José Santana Pereira is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Policy (ESPP) and Integrated Researcher at CIES-Iscte - Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology (ESPP) in Politics and Citizenship. He holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence (IUE, 2012). His research has focused on the field of media effects on public opinion and, more recently, on the study of national media systems in comparative perspective. Electoral behaviour and political attitudes (namely attitudes towards Europe) are also part of his research interests.

Lisete Mónico is Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra, Ph.D. in Social Psychology, European Diploma of Advanced Studies in Social Psychology. Member of the Institute for Cognitive Psychology, he dedicates his professional activity to research in Social Psychology and Research Methods in Social Sciences and Humanities. Author of several scientific articles and book chapters.

Location: Indicação do local