European Forum courses
54614 MA/PhD seminar: The politics of populism
Since the 1990s, left-wing and right-wing populist parties have established themselves in the European political map. At the same time, the 2008 financial crisis and the more recent migration crisis have strengthened populist feelings, Euroscepticism, and nationalism. This shift has, in turn, accentuated the cleavage between the “open,” pro-European, transnational and democratic outlook, on the one hand, and the “closed”, Eurosceptic, nationalistic and authoritarian position, on the other. A major objective of this course is to describe, discuss, and analyze the phenomenon of right/left-wing radicalization in Europe. Among the questions addressed are the following: Are there common patterns underlying the success of populist parties in Europe? Who votes for these parties? What is the reason for their success in Europe and why are some countries “immune” to populist ideologies? What is the impact of populist parties on public policies and democratic institutions? What are the relationships between globalization, the crisis of democracy, the economic crisis, and the success of populism?
The course is designed to expose students to recent developments and state-of-the-art literature in the booming field of comparative populism. It seeks to familiarize students with the intricacies of empirically complex – and, for this reason, theoretically challenging – phenomena, and assess the impact of the latter on European democracies. The course provides students with analytical tools for understanding the complex politics of populism; the rationales of the populist voter; the attributes of populism when in power; and its normative implications for contemporary liberal democracy.
54602 MA/PhD seminar: Politics and identity in contemporary Europe
Is there such a thing as a European identity? If so, how has it developed and what is the role of supranational institutions in this regard? Also, what are the causal mechanisms of Europeanization processes that are currently underway in Europe? And why are their outcomes not the same for different member states? The European Union is a fascinating laboratory for the study of political identities. On the one hand, it embraces 28 member states that, not only share an internal market, but cooperate in other areas such as justice and home affairs. On the other hand, and despite an ostensibly increasing convergence among its member states on cardinal collective issues, a diametrically opposite tendency is emerging: More and more calls are voiced to stem the deepening and broadening of cooperation among the EU members. This puzzling development is evident in the surveys conducted among European citizens, in difficulties posed by some member states to ratifying EU treaties, as well as in the gradual rise of populist right and Euroskeptic parties across Europe. Recently, all these processes culminated in the ‘leave’ vote in the Brexit referendum. The course examines this complicated political landscape, with its interplay of variegated identities, which are being molded and reconstructed due to accelerating interactions.
The objective of this course is to expose students to contemporary academic research on European identity, the factors that promote or hinder its creation, and the relationship between national and European identities. The course will introduce students to the challenges inherent in the empirical research on this subject as well as to the effect of the European identity on integration processes in Europe.
Courses offered in the Political Science Department
56067 BA course: Between threat and opportunity: Immigration, identity and national pride in contemporary Europe
In recent years, migration has become one of the most preponderant concerns faced by the European Union, and one that puts the very essence of the EU as a political entity to the test. This course engages with this complex and multilayered phenomenon and aims at addressing the following questions: Why is there a European–wide backlash against migration and multiculturalism in general and against Muslim migrants in particular? How is migration related to the transformations undertaken by the European party system and the rise of the radical right in Western Europe? How does immigration impact public opinion and on the articulation and configuration of national and supranational identities?
To answer these questions, this course is thematically divided, according to four main pillars. In its first part, the course will be devoted to discussing the meanings and definitions of European identity. We will discuss the evolution of the concept, the role attributed to it, and its (political) manifestations. This part will also engage with the role and place of supranational institutions in identity formation and sustenance, focusing primarily on the question of Is European identity a necessary condition to sustain legitimate supranational institutions? In the three subsequent parts of the course, students will delve into the three most pressing and intertwined challenges to European identity–immigration, nationalism and the surge in populist right parties in Europe. We will grapple with the question of what accounts for the rising opposition to immigrants and immigration and contemplate upon the different economic and cultural approaches that address this issue.