New Youth Panel on Populism

4 April

Over the last 20 years, many countries have seen a surge of populist ideas and populist politicians. Scholars debate not only the reasons behind this, but also how to define populism as a phenomenon, which is not an easy task in itself. Youth Fellow Elena Vocale has initiated a study on the issue, which is performed together with Emma Sougli and a few other Youth Fellows – in dialogue with prominent researchers in the field. As part of this inquiry, we have consulted our Youth Panel, a body of some 130 young adults who have helped us with their thoughts and ideas on many occations before.

Today we publish the results from this our seventh Youth Panel. Though almost two thirds of the respondents answer no to the question of whether they “embrace opinions that some might consider populist”, at the same time, more than four out of five agree that populism is “a natural part of politics”. This duality might come down to the fact that populism is a complex phenomenon. As one respondent states:

“The first thing that we have to take into account is that populism is not a consensual concept. Yes it might be clearly classified academically or in the dictionary but truth be told that no one uses it with a consensual meaning. […] That being said, I consider populism a branch of political speech and/or activity that simplifies answers for complex problems. So yes, I might embrace opinions that might consider to be populist regarding your concept of ‘populism’ and the knowledge that I have of a certain theme.”

Read the full results from the survey here.