Talk | UNPOP

Are we all populists?

José Santana Pereira (ESPP/CIES-ISCTE)

December 16, 2021, 19h00-20h30

Salão Brazil (Coimbra)


Recent research has identified very high average levels of populist attitudes in several European countries, including Portugal. Does this mean we are all populists? In this conversation with the public, José Santana Pereira looks in detail at the results of his research, identifying patterns, types and variations in the populist attitudes expressed by citizens.

In order to invite all interested people to talk about the themes of populism and emotions, the research team of the UNPOP project - UNpacking POPulism: Comparing the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour, coordinated at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra, organises this open talk with researcher José Santana Pereira to question whether "Are we all populists?". In addition to José Pereira's presentation, the event will also feature Sofia José Santos as moderator.

This open talk is part of the ‘Event Series UNPOP - Populism and emotions', which aims to create a platform for a multidisciplinary discussion on the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour, with a focus on populism. While the success of populist phenomena is reportedly largely attributed to their ability to mobilise the emotions of 'common' people, there is little debate as to how legitimate these emotions are and how they contribute to shaping political representation. This debate turns to the vibrant subject of the relationship between reason and emotion and the limits of both in society. The mobilising potential of emotions in populist discourses is often seen as alien to democratic practices, or a distorted and irrational version of political discourse. The 'UNPOP' event series will promote several discussions involving - and challenging - this premise.

In turn, this event series is part of the UNPOP project, which has as main objective to explore how emotion narratives allow a deeper analysis of the way populist phenomena constitute and influence political behaviour. Thus, the event series taking place throughout the project’s duration will address several issues involving the recent rise of populism, with a focus on the role of emotions - both those taken as negative such as anger and fear, and those taken as positive such as hope and love - in political behaviour.

Coordinated by Cristiano Gianolla and Lisete Mónico and based at the Centre for Social Studies and CINEICC - Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive-Behavioural Intervention of the University of Coimbra, the UNPOP project is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P. (PTDC/CPO-CPO/3850/2020).

Bio notes

José Santana Pereira is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Policy (ESPP) and Integrated Researcher at CIES-Iscte - Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology (ESPP) in Politics and Citizenship. He holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence (IUE, 2012). His research has focused on the field of media effects on public opinion and, more recently, on the study of national media systems in comparative perspective. Electoral behaviour and political attitudes (namely attitudes towards Europe) are also part of his research interests.

Sofia José Santos is Assistant Professor in International Relations at the Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, and a Researcher at the Center for Social Studies, where she coordinates the DeCodeM project as a Principal Investigator. Since 2008 she has developed research on media and global interventionism; media and securitization processes; media and foreign policy; internet and technopolitics; and media and masculinities. Within CES, she is also coordinator for Promundo-Portugal's Media and Masculinities programming area and co-editor of Alice News. She holds a PhD and an MA in International Politics and Conflict Resolution by the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra, a degree in International Relations from the same university, and a Diploma in Advanced Studies in Communication Sciences from ISCTE-IUL. Previously, she was an Invited Assistant Professor in International Relations at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra (2016-2019), a postdoctoral researcher at OBSERVARE / UAL (2015/2016) and CES (2015), and researcher and coordinator of media and communication in Promundo-Europa (2014-2015). She was also a visiting scholar at the Flemish Peace Institute and a Marie Curie fellow at the Universiteit Utrecht. In addition to publications, conferences and national and international research projects, it is also worth mentioning her work in co-coordinating and co-editing the P@x Bulletin of the NHUMEP Peace Studies Group, her involvement in international networks, social movements, and the several research works she has undertaken for international think tanks and development agencies such as NOREF, UKAID, Palladium, and Promundo-US. Her current research interests focus on media representations and securitization; media and foreign policy; media, masculinities and violence prevention; digital rights and contentious politics; and critical internet studies.


Salão Brazil


UNPOP Event Series

Populism and Emotions