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Everyday Populism: affect, belonging and the idiom of popular sovereignty

Tereza Capelos

Giovanni Allegretti

Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of University of Coimbra

January, 25 2024, 12h00 (GMT Lisbon/London)

Grievance politics, imbued with hot and uneasy emotionality, dominates the emotional politics of contemporary democracies. Hot emotions can serve as emotional flashpoints signalling social, political, and economic crises and uncomfortable truths about unequal distribution of resources and opportunities, rising asset and wealth inequality, local marginalisation, felt often as loss of dignity and humiliation. While grievance politics deals with what matters to us, it can turn antidemocratic when ignored, or pro-democratic when the emotional origins of its demands are addressed. In this talk, I will examine the relationship between the emotional economy of grievance politics founded on ressentiment, and the proliferation of precarious political identities in contemporary democracies. We also explore solutions for pro-democratic articulations and responses to grievance politics that alleviate ressentiment and strengthen pro-social political identities and attachments.

Bio notes

Associate Professor in Politics and IR at the University of Southampton, she studies the psychological processes, mechanisms, and dynamics that explain political behaviour. Her recent work focuses on grievance politics, particularly resentful emotionality, and reactionary orientations as determinants of anti-democratic and authoritarian political preferences. She also examines the role of uncertainty, anxiety, trust, and empathy as determinants of polarisation vs. cooperation during crises and tensions. She is co-editor of the Palgrave Studies in Political Psychology and publishes articles in several international peer-review journals. She is also a Standing Group Co-Convener for the Political Psychology Standing Group of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and Former President of the International Society of Political Psychology. She has recently been awarded two Horizon Europe projects focusing on the role of emotions in democratic governance.