MEMPOP – Memory and Populism from Below

Memory and Populism from Below (MEMPOP)

ERC 2022 Starting Grant, Horizont Europe, European Commisssion

101076092; 1.1.2024 – 31.12.2028

Principal InvestigatorMSc. Johana Wyss D.Phil.

Political polarisation with rising support for populist movements is one of the most pressing global issues that we are facing worldwide. Yet, it is usually Central and Eastern Europe that are singled out for examples of unprecedented resurgences of populism, illiberal nationalism, and increasingly authoritarian forms of government. However, considering how divergent the so-called populist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe are, as well as the types of mnemonic populism they employ, ‘populism’ has become a label that is as empty as it is fashionable. To scrutinise the notion of Central and Eastern European populism and provide a novel perspective on this phenomenon, the project proposes a radical shift from the two units of analysis that are taken for granted in populism studies: the temporal unit that presumes Central and Eastern European populism is a post-socialist consequence; and the geographical unit that essentialises contemporary nation-states of Central and Eastern Europe. By adopting a bottom-up approach and investigating the everyday mnemonic practices and populist sentiments of ordinary people living in the transnational borderland periphery, namely, Burgenland, Galicia, Istria, and Silesia, this pioneering study moves away from the elite, top-down investigation of populism as well as the tendency to treat the state as the primary unit of analysis. Instead, it shifts the centre of focus to the postimperial transnational borderlands where, in fact, both antagonistic memories and support for populist movements are arguably the strongest.






This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 101076092).