Towards a Communicative Authoritarian Populism in the European Union?

This project is one of the work packages of the Loughborough University London-led research project on the current populist backlash in European countries.

The work-package proposes a novel scale sensitive approach, combining macro, meso and micro levels of communicative authoritarian populism, to reveal the interconnectedness between the political and communication fields.

The project focuses on five countries, including Austria, Hungary, Crotia, Slovenia and Turkey, and encompasses of three levels of study:

  1. Macro Level: Adopting a comparative media systems analysis approach and using media policy methods, the study compares countries; communication and policy making
  2. Meso Level: Using semi-structured interviews with media workers, the project analyses how media/journalistic routines and values have changed in the journalistic field during democratic backsliding
  3. Micro Level: Based on innovative frame-and discourse analysis of prime-time political television programs on public and private channels in each country and social media (Twitter) messages of politicians and influencers, the study compares authoritarian populist discourses across countries and media outlets in the production of ‘politics of fear’, ‘exclusionary and divisionary discourse’ and ‘populist truth’.

This research project is conducted as part of a New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe (NORFACE) grant (2020-2023) and is a collaboration between Dr Burçe Çelik (Loughborough University London), Prof Birgit Sauer (University of Vienna), and Prof Mojca Pajnik (The Peace Institute in Slovenia). The transnational, interdisciplinary research project entitled Populist Backlash, Democratic Backsliding and the Crisis of the Rule of Law in the European Union (POPBACK), which this study constitutes one of the workpackages, will be led by Dr Gerhard Schnyder.

The project will start in December 2020.