The Research Methods Laboratory    


Conference 2019

Faking it: Populism and Post-truth

The London conference "To Define Populism" (1967) concluded that "the subject was much too vast not merely to be contained in one definition, but to be exhausted in one discussion". More than fifty years later the views articulated at the 1967 conference remain salient, and as discussions concerning populism intensify on the run up the the European Parliament elections, many new questions have arisen. This conference is scheduled to take place following the European elections in May where victory for populist movements may change the political face of the European Union.


Call for Contributions

Populist movements regard their existence as a response to some perceived ‘crisis’ facing the ‘native’ population and the need to defend ‘the people’. In this scenario populist movements engage in a dramatization of politics through a rhetoric of friend vs foe. Populists position themselves as defenders of the ‘ordinary people’ and as their representati­ves in opposition to a fickle, self-interested elite. In an era characterised by a politics of ‘post-truth’ much of the debate around populism is highly emotional, employing an exaggerated, slogan-based, language of exclusion. The prominence of such ‘tabloid’ discourse by leaders such as Trump, Orbán, or Le Pen and Bolsonaro (to name but a few) has insured that ‘populism’ continues to insight caustic debates in political circles, in the media, and among the general public.

While much of the debate on populism concerns the ‘radical-right’, populism is not exclusively a rightwing phenomenon. There is a rich history of leftwing populism and this continues to manifest itself in recent campaigns such as the “gilets-jaunes” in France.

In Europe there are obvious geographical differences in terms of ‘left-right’ populism stemming from the historical legacy, as well as the different social and political conditions parenting in northern, southern and eastern Europe. As recent research has noted “A “populist Iron Curtain” continues to endure: in western and eastern Europe, practically only right wing populism exists, while southern Europe allows almost exclusively leftist populism” (FEPS, 2016).

This conference will bring together participants from a diversity of fields of enquiry and practice(s) to consider key questions relating to. We welcome contributions which engage with the question of populist politics from either a theoretical, empirical, or methodological perspective.

  • populism in the era of truth-decay;
  • the conditions for populism;
  • populism & representations of place
  • xenophobia , racism, and populist nationalism;
  • rhetoric’s of ‘the people’ and ‘the nation’ in populist discourse;
  • inclusion and exclusion in ‘styles’ of contemporary populism;
  • populism as ‘threat’ or ‘corrective’;
  • populisms as protest movement or political project;
  • populism embodied – the ‘leader effect’;
  • mediating the ‘ post-truth’ about populism;
  • responses to right-wing populism;
  • visual rhetorics of populism;
  • populism and the ‘post-truth’ academy.

The conference aims to examine, explore and debate emerging issues associated with the rise of contemporary populism and post-truth in a critical yet supportive environment. We encourage a wide range of participants to share their perspectives on populism and post-truth in order to advance productive dialogue/practice in and through diverse engagements with contemporary politics. The conference will include (but is not limited to) paper presentations, poster presentations, video presentations and creative art ‘works’.  

Keynote Speakers


Important dates:

  • Deadline for abstract submission: 25.02.19
  • Notification of acceptance/feedback: 11.03.19
  • Early bird registration: 18.03.19
  • Submission of full papers: 07.04.19 

Please submit a 300-350 word abstract, with title, affiliation and contact information: ABSTRACT SUBMISSION


Please visit our registration page

Conference Programme (Draft) here

Scientific Committee

Chair of the scientific committee

Dr William G. Feighery, Switzerland 


Professor Ruth Wodak, Lancaster University / University Vienna

Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Cardiff University

Professor Ferruh Yilmaz, Tulane University

Dr William G. Feighery, METLAB Switzerland

Dr Dennis Zuev,  CIES-ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal



Conference Flyer
Conference Flyer
Faking it_ populism & post-truth flyer.pdf (696.66KB)
Conference Flyer
Conference Flyer
Faking it_ populism & post-truth flyer.pdf (696.66KB)