Programme

The one-day conference is organised into three panels addressing specific aspects of populism and education. Panels will be based around 15 minute papers with approximately 45 minutes for questions and discussion.

9.30am Welcome and registration
10.00am Opening remarks: WTF is populism?
Gavin Bailey, University of Leicester
10.30am

Notions of populism
Chair: Richard Whitaker, University of Leicester
This session aims to set out the theoretical groundwork necessary to understand populism in a contemporary context. Papers will explore the role of populism in political narratives of all stripes and the evolution of populism from its roots in 19th century agricultural movements (the US People's Party and the Russian Narodniks) to its arrival as an apparent mainstay of modern European legislatures and the European Parliament. In particular, papers will aim to critically evaluate some of the commonly held notions of populism and unpick the often automatically assumed status of populism as code for radical or extreme right-wing.

  • The Central and Eastern European case: Andrea LP Pirro, University of Siena
  • The Italian 5 Star MoVement’s first European Parliament elections: in Europe for Italy: Simona Guerra, University of Leicester
  • A European youth Against Europe? Identity and Europeanness in the Austrian 'Identitarian' discourse: Stefanie Mayer, Birgit Sauer: University of Vienna
12.00pm Lunch
1.00pm

Young people and populist engagement online
Chair: TBC
This session aims to showcase some of the initial findings of the e-Engagement Against Violence (eEAV) project which has explored the use of online communications by populist organisations in Europe, in particular highlighting the extent to which young people have been the focus of populist engagement efforts through increasingly ubiquitous social media platforms. This panel will include studies from across Europe, including the UK and Austria.

  • 'Liking' Extremism: Exploratory mapping of populist youth support on social media: Mark Littler, University of Central Lancashire
  • Who is the enemy? Analysing the anti-establishment discourse of populist parties through Twitter: Stijn van Kessel, Loughborough University & Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf; Remco Castelein, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Playing the blame game: gamification, viral posters and the British National Party on Facebook: Benjamin Lee, University of Leicester
2.30pm Coffee break
3.00pm

Addressing populism, racism and discrimination in young people: good practice
Chair: TBC
This session aims to provide attendees with some examples of good practice from educational workers and those dealing with young people. Speakers will each describe a practical example of an educational approach to dealing with the attendant issues of populist political rhetoric, in particular the potential side effects of the use of divisive ‘us’ versus ‘them’ narratives and the practice of ‘othering’.

  • National action: Neo-Nazism for the next generation? Paul Jackson, Northampton University
  • Title TBC Alethea Melling and Jenny Lamb, University of Central Lancashire
  • Spectrum of hate: when should a counter-terrorism strategy intervene?: Will Baldet, St Phillips Centre, Leicester
  • How UKIP deflect accusations of racism and what this means for those seeking to challenge populist rhetoric: Stephen Ashe, University of Manchester
4.30pm

Closing remarks: Decentering generation: solidarities and problematics in youth participation
Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics & Political Science
My closing remarks/keynote will draw on the day’s discussions and on material from projects over the past decade. These have been undertaken with young people in diverse locations in Europe and Asia in relation to politics, media and participation. I aim to problematise two ideas: first the notion that young people’s participation and motivation in politics and the civic sphere is radically distinct from that of other generations; and second, the notion that the digital precedes or leads the political. While young people do of course make up a proportion of those doing politics online, I point to what can be learnt from analyses of right-wing populist uses of new media in the recent Indian elections and note, in particular, the manner in which corporate ideologues and authoritarian political leaders thrive on the perceived youthfulness of right-wing participation.

5.00pm Conference closes

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Funding

Part of the e-Engagement Against Violence Project (eEAV), funded through the European Commission’s DAPHNE funding stream.

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