The three-year project on ‘Transnational Populism and European Democracy‘ (TRAPpED) (Standard Project, Czech Science Foundation, 2018-20) researches the political and constitutional claims made, and forms of legal and constitutional mobilization engaged in, by Trans-European Movements.

Proj Website

The project analyzes the claims transnational civil society movements make vis-à-vis the political institutions of the European Union. TRAPpEd has a distinctive interest in the articulation and variety of alternative views expressed regarding the European project, while equally researching the populist dimension in such claims and arguments, in terms of the pitting the ‘European People(-s)’ against the European elite(-s).

For a more comprehensive description, see: Transnational Populism and European Democracy short.

The political crisis in Europe indicates: (1) an ever larger distance between formal TRAPpEDrotpolitics and European society, and, (2) an increasing politicization of European integration. The politicization of the EU entails an increased attention to EU issues in public debate on both domestic and supranational level. Social-scientific research and public debate predominantly focus on the negative implications of increased politicization for European integration, in terms of the rise of right-wing and conservative populism and Euroscepticism, while alternative narratives of European integration are dismissed as radical, ‘anti-politics’, and (left) populist. Existing social-scientific research hardly addresses the positive political capacities and imagination, and the innovative, and institutionally relevant, responses endorsed by transnational European civil society, not least in the form of Trans-European Movements (TEMs), to the multiple crises.

The research project focuses on a number of transnational networks, including DiEM25 and European Alternatives, and fills the social-scientific knowledge gap by:

(a) systematically analyzing TEMs comprehensive, constructive ideas regarding the future of the European polity,

(b) evaluating the radical and populist nature of ideas, and,

(c) researching the visibility and resonance of movements’ political claims in the European public sphere.