Call for papers

Since Brexit in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the anti-vaccine protests during the COVID-19 pandemic, re-election of Viktor Orban in Hungary and the rise of nationalist political parties across Europe, populism and populist communication continue to occupy a stable position in local and global media and political debates. Growing concerns in Europe and other continents about high inflation, rising cost of living, climate change, immigration, the course and consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine, to mention but a few, have been exploited by a range of actors (media professionals, politicians, influencers and celebrities) in their populist rhetoric and communication. A proliferation of social media and visual communication is providing new spaces, mechanisms and channels for the proliferation and amplification of populist communication – as this allows all these actors and non-human, device “actants” – to disseminate their messages and gain public attention.

Populism polarises people and divides them into binary groups of the “them” and the “us”, which causes a growing sense of distance between political elites and citizens, and a lack of political agency and participation for the latter. More increasingly, however, populist discourse (generally perceived as the voice of the people and the advocacy for the people’s greater control over their own lives) is used in the communication of mainstream political parties, politicians across Europe (including high rank officials) in order to ensure electoral support. The “virus” of populism is also spreading throughout mainstream media organizations and creative content (films, TV series, games) producers – the sectors which face increasing competition on local and global markets. It also thrives in political communication on social media.

In the light of these problems, the need to discuss the multiplicity of populism in media and to set indicators in order to recognize the populism in various contents and platforms and to establish guidelines and set conditions to mitigate its negative effects, has never been more important than in current times. However, media and communication scholars predominantly focus on right-wing political populism and the communication of demagogic political leaders.

The organisers of this conference therefore see this event as a platform for media scholars, students and media professionals to discuss the nexus between populism, politics, communication, media and society in challenging times for Europe and worldwide.

We welcome both paper and panel proposal submissions from political communication, film and media studies, journalism, cultural studies, and other related fields. New methodological and critical approaches for studying populism in the media are particularly welcome.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Populist political communication in times of local and global crises
  • Anti-populist discourse and critique of populism in multiple media
  • Effects of populist communication and populist media
  • Populist discourse in film, video games and other visual media
  • Populism and radical media
  • Populist actors (human and non-human) and populist communication in social media
  • Anti-science discourse in populist communication
  • Right-wing populist communication on environmental issues, health and migration
  • Opportunistic strategies in populist communication
  • Cultural and social populism in multiple media
  • Populist gender discourse in multiple media
  • Comparative perspectives on populist discourses communication in Europe and worldwide
  • New methodological and theoretical approaches to populist communication and populist media research

The conference organizers and partners – scientific journals – Studies in Eastern European Cinema and Central European Journal of Communication made arrangements to publish selected presentations in issues of their own journals related the theme of the conference. A call for submissions will be published shortly after the conference. Participants are invited to submit articles based on their presentations.

Submission Guidelines

Paper proposals in English (incl. a title, and a 300-word description) and a short biography (max. 100 words) are expected to be submitted by June 20, by filling in the form at: http://www.populism.kf.vu.lt/registration/
Proposals for pre-constituted panels (consisting of 3 or 4 papers) are also welcome!
Panel proposals (incl. a title, and a 350-word description) and a short biography (max. 100 words for each participant (chair and presenters)) are expected to be submitted by June 20, by filling in the form at: http://www.populism.kf.vu.lt/registration/
Proposals will be peer-reviewed. Applicants will be notified about the status of acceptance by July 15, 2023.

There are no conference fees