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Populism And Civic Engagement – a fine-grained, dynamic, context-sensitive and forward-looking response to negative populist tendencies

Project description

New tools to confront populist tendencies

The populist movements that have emerged across Europe claiming to challenge liberal elites and represent the ‘ordinary people’ contain tendencies threatening the EU. The EU-funded PaCE project aims to confront these negative tendencies of the populist movements, perform specific interventions, and contribute to the making of a solid democratic and institutional foundation for EU citizens. The project will analyse the causes, rise, specific challenges to liberal democracy, transitions related to leadership changes and consequences of these movements. PaCE will propose responses and develop risk analyses for each type of movement and transition by employing an agent-based simulation of political processes and conducts. The project team will develop new tools relying on machine learning algorithms.


Across Europe there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the 'ordinary person' - movements that can be loosely categorised as 'populist'. Many of these movements have undesirable tendencies. The Populism and Civic Engagement project (PACE), with others, aims to combat the negative tendencies of populist movements, to build upon the lessons of positive examples (such as Reykjavik), and hence play a part in constructing a firmer democratic and institutional foundation for the citizens of Europe.

PACE will analyse, in detail, the type, growth and consequences of such movements in terms of their particular characteristics and context. From this, it will analyse the causes of these movements and their specific challenges to liberal democracy a possibilistic analysis to complement survey/statistical approaches. In particular, it will focus on transitions in these movements (especially changes in leadership) as well as how they relate to other kinds of movements and the liberal reaction. PACE will propose responses to these challenges, developing risk-analyses for each kind of response, each kind of movement and the type of transition. For this, it will employ the agent-based simulation of political processes and attitudes to allow for thorough risk analyses to be made. Throughout the project, it will engage with citizens and policy actors, especially groups under-represented in public affairs, face-face and via new forms of democratic participation appropriate to our digital age to help guide the project and to comment on its outputs.

It will develop new tools, based on machine-learning algorithms for identifying and tracking populist narratives and to aid online consultation. It will result in specific interventions aimed at: the public, politicians, activists and educators. It will look further into the future, developing new visions concerning how we could respond to populism and it will warn about longer-term trends.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 431 681,25
M15 6BH Manchester
United Kingdom

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North West (England) Greater Manchester Manchester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 431 681,25

Participants (9)