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DEMOS – Democratic Efficacy and the Varieties of Populism in Europe

DEMOS is built on the assumption that populism is symptomatic of disconnect between how democratic polities operate and how citizens perceive their own aspirations, needs and identities within the political system. As such, DEMOS explores the practical value of ’democratic efficacy’ as the condition of political engagement needed to address the challenge of populism.

DEMOS combines in-depth research on populism and democratic efficacy with action research and pilot projects in order to develop lasting tools and timely policy recommendations; project methods include experiments, deliberative polling, text mining, surveys, and legal analysis.

DEMOS focuses not only on the polity, but equally on citizens’ perspectives: how they are affected by, and how they react to, populism. Politically underrepresented groups and those targeted by populist politics are a particular focus, e.g. youth, women, and migrants. Based on developed indicators and predictors of populism, DEMOS elaborates scenarios on the interactions of populism with social actors and institutions both at the national and the EU levels.

This project is implemented in partnership with the following organisations:

  • Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (CSS HAS)
  • University of Hamburg (UHAM)
  • Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (AMU)
  • Kaunas University of Technology (KTU)
  • Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • School of Communication and Media (SKAMBA)
  • University for Business Engineering and Management (PEM)
  • Charles University (CU)
  • University of Turin (UNITO)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)
  • University of Amsterdam (UVA)
  • University of Copenhagen (UCPH)
  • University of Barcelona (UB)
  • Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Paris 1 (UP)

December 1, 2018 – November 30, 2021

  • Leads the working package on improving democratic efficacy: action research and pilot projects;
  • Contributes to identifying the main features of citizens’ reactions to populism;
  • Identifies potential civic influencers and multipliers of results for anti-populist activities;
  • Contributes to the formulation of policy recommendations;
  • Participates in the activities related to communication, dissemination and sustainability;
  • Organises DEMOS concluding conference in Brussels.


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