The Thinking Lab on Populism is dealing with one of the fastest growing phenomena in current European politics. Well known in other parts of the world, such as Latin America, the concept of populism is still an unclear one. While many experts and journalists characterize very heterogenous political movements such as Podemos on the one hand, and far right protest movements like the German Alternative für Deutschland, as being populist, the Thinking Lab is benefiting from a broader view on the matter and will try to bring clarity in the debate.



News

Book review

The people’s verdict – adding informed citizen voices to public decision-making by Claudia Chwalisz

Reviewed by Sophie Pornschlegl17 October 2017 | Sophie Pornschlegl
Foto: Rowman & Littlefield International

With case studies from Australia and Canada and a short comparative analysis of deliberative formats in the UK, this short book tries to convince skeptical decision-makers that, given the right framework, people can be good, legitimate and efficient decision-makers.
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Populism

Populism is not the problem

Why we should focus on values in political debate instead of style25 July 2017 | Hanno Burmester
"AfD Wahlkampfauftakt" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by strassenstriche.net

Populism is everywhere these days. Not only as a phenomenon but also as a topic in political discourse. Yet, the closer you look at it, the more you will realize that populism is quite a messy term. It signifies everything from an unease towards dissent, to the fear of a weakened democracy. More importantly, once you get a grip on how you define the term you will realize that populism may be destructive and inflammatory but is not the real problem. It is mostly a symptom for fundamental conflicts in society.

Press Event Populism

Voices from the Thinking Lab on Populism

An interview with Orange Magazine6 April 2017 | Anna Romandash, Demetrios Pogkas

During the second Thinking Lab Summit in Paris, Orange Magazine spoke with Elena García Mañes and Filipe Santos Henrique. They talked about their stances on Populism in Europe.

Populism Thinking Lab Summit Analysis

Security Pivot Towards a Police State in France

Populisms' Slippery Slope5 February 2017
"Police Francaise - Policía francesa - F" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Oscar in the middle

The first European Thinking Lab took place from 25-27 November in Lisbon. During the Summit, the contributors cooperated within their Thinking Lab and worked out brief policy proposals. Félix Blanc is engaged with the topic of a Security Pivot towards a Police State in France.

Populism in Eastern Europe

An analysis of Elena Marcela Coman21 January 2017
"Jobbik flags" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Leigh Phillips

Thwarting the Political Cleavages of Western Europe – What We Can Learn from Populists. Elena Marcela Coman outlines the historic trajectory and specific traits of populist movements in Eastern Europe.

Populism Analysis

On the Making of Trump – The Blind Spot That Created Him

Otto Scharmer analyses the factors underlying Trump's victory 17 January 2017
"Josh_eye" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by operationotter

According to Scharmer, three main divides within the United States contributed to the success of Donald Trump, which took many by surprise.

Populism Analysis

We Need Good Answers Now

Hanno Burmester on the election of Donald Trump11 January 2017 | Hanno Burmester
"Question the Answers" (CC BY 2.0) by walknboston

The helplessness of the left allows the triumph of the right. Five hypotheses on the election of Donald Trump

Populism Analysis

What We Can Learn from Populists – A Populist Backlash in the Philippines

Duterte: The Success of the "Celebrity Maverick"2 January 2017 | Sophie Pornschlegel
"✊👊 Atin to pre! #Duterte #dutertefo" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by incrediblethots

How come the “celebrity maverick” has proven so successful with his unconventional, violent and vile approach? Why does Duterte’s populism attract so many voters and enabled him to become President?

Populism Thinking Lab Summit Analysis

My Populism is Bigger than Yours

The Trajectory of Populist Movements in Europe, Reasons for Their Success and Reactions of Established Parties 20 December 2016 | Nuno Casimiro
"A European Union map composed entirely o" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by European Parliament

Mainstream parties seem to believe that refusing ideological attachments and claiming that the populists are “the others” will be enough for the citizens to recognize them as the ones offering providential solutions. The problem is that, while the gap between representatives and represented is not narrowed, between a soft populism and the real thing, dangerous “others” might take the place with rather scary alternatives.

Populism Analysis

Thinking Lab’s Working Definition of Populism

A clarification written by Judith Rohde-Liebenau21 November 2016 | Judith Rohde-Liebenau
©MJ S

Populism is a political movement that can adapt to different ideologies and often emerges in times of (perceived) societal change. The concept is contested in the social sciences and there is no clear, universally applicable definition.

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