INTRODUCING THE TEAM

INVESTIGATORS

Daniele Albertazzi

Daniele Albertazzi

Reader in European Politics (University of Birmingham)

The major strands of Daniele Albertazzi’s work have been about populism in Western Europe, party organisation, Italian politics, Swiss politics, and the communication strategies, styles of propaganda and mass media use of political parties. Before working at this research project (which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council – ESRC), Daniele has been principal investigator on three projects that have now been concluded. These were financed by other major UK funding bodies, such as the Leverhulme Trust, The Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRC) and the British Academy.

Daniele has published widely on European politics in international journals such as West European Politics, Party Politics and Government & Opposition, and on Italian politics in Contemporary Italian Politics, Modern Italy and the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. He is the co-editor of various volumes, including Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition Under Berlusconi (2001-06) (with C. Brook, C. Ross and N. Rothenberg) and Twenty-first Century Populism-The Spectre of Western European Democracy (with D. McDonnell). Daniele is also the co-author (with Duncan McDonnell) of Populists in Power.

He has convened or co-convened the Italian Politics Specialist group of the Political Studies Association between 2008 and 2018.

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Stijn van Kessel

Stijn van Kessel

Senior Lecturer in European Politics (Queen Mary, University of London)

Previously, Stijin van Kessel was Lecturer in Politics at Loughborough University and between October 2013 and September 2015 was postdoctoral fellow at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

He also obtained visiting research fellowships at the University of Leuven and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Berlin, and held teaching positions in the Netherlands at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the VU University Amsterdam (2011-2012). Stijn previously completed a BSc (2005) and MSc (2006) in Political Science at the VU University Amsterdam, and defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Sussex in 2011.

His main research interests are populism, Euroscepticism, and the discourse, voters and electoral performance of populist parties in Europe. Key Publications include the monograph Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and articles in journals such as European Journal of Political Research, Government and Opposition, Politics, Journal of European Integration, Journal of Political Ideologies and Acta Politica. Recent research also focuses on Brexit and pro-European social movements, as part of a project funded by an ESRC Brexit Priority Grant (£298,339): ‘28+ Perspectives on Brexit’ (Principal investigator: Prof. Helen Drake).

Since January 2014, Stijn has been joint convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy. In addition, he is joint editor of the Routledge book series of the same name since February 2019, and joint editor of the journal Politics since September 2018.

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RESEARCH FELLOWS

Adrian Favero

Adrian Favero

Research Fellow (Switzerland)

Adrian Favero focuses on Switzerland and the Swiss People’s Party (SVP).

Adrian Favero received his PhD in Politics from the University of Edinburgh. His research explores themes of European integration, local urban politics, and public opinion in post-communist settings, with particular attention to general attitudes towards the European Union and to personal migration strategies.

Before joining the Populist in Action Project, Adrian conducted social media analysis as a research assistant for an ESRC-funded project at the University of Edinburgh, analyzing the influence of Russian troll accounts on Twitter and the Brexit debate. He has also been a research assistant at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.

Adrian has published articles on the influence of local urban politics on migration incentives and EU attitudes, and co-authored an essay on troll behavior. Others research projects include comparative assessments of governance in post-communist cities and study of gender-related attitudes towards the EU.

Adrian is a recipient of the European Urban Research Association (EURA) Young Scholar Award.

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Niko Hatakka

Niko Hatakka

Research Fellow (Finland)

Niko Hatakka focuses on Finland and the Finns Party.

Niko Hatakka earned his doctorate from the University of Turku for his dissertation “Populism in the Hybrid Media System: Populist Radical Right Online Counterpublics interacting with Journalism, Party Politics, and Citizen Activism”, which was awarded the highest grade of Laudatur. His research has focused on the relationship of populism and media, populist political communication, populist parties, and populist online movements.

Before joining the Populism in Action Project, Niko worked as a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Parliamentary Studies at the University of Turku, most recently in the Academy of Finland-funded project “Mainstreaming Populism in the 21st Century”.

Niko is the author of the book Populism in the Hybrid Media System, based on his doctorate. He has published in journals such as New Media & Society; Information, Communication & Society; and Discourse & Society.

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Judith Sijstermans

Judith Sijstermans

Research Fellow (Belgium)

Judith Sijstermans focuses on Belgium’s Flemish region and the Vlaams Belang party.

Judith Sijstermans completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh on “Political Party Learning in the European Free Alliance: Inspiration and Information in the (Trans)Nationalist Family.” The dissertation brought together research and analysis on sub-state nationalist parties, the development of European political parties, and study of policy and organizational learning.

Judith’s argument is that the relationships between political parties and their members, fostered by the European Union, was instrumental in the policy and strategic learning of those parties.

Judith also worked on policy-oriented research projects at the University of Edinburgh on gender and local government, Brexit and devolution, and post-Brexit migration policy in Scotland. Judith has also worked at the Scottish Parliament and Stirling City Council.

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Mattia Zulianello

Mattia Zulianello

Research Fellow (Italy)

Mattia Zulianello focuses on Italy and the League.

Mattia Zulianello’s work has focused on populist parties, anti-system parties, Italian politics, party competition and mixed-method research. Before working at the project “The survival of the mass party: Evaluating activism and participation among populist radical right parties (PRRPs) in Europe”, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, ESRC, Mattia has worked two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Science, University of Florence, Italy. His monograph, entitled Anti-system parties: from parliamentary breakthrough to government was published by Routledge (Extremism and Democracy Series) in 2019, and his articles have appeared in international journals such as Government and Opposition, The International Journal of Press/Politics, Quality and Quantity – International Journal of Methodology, European Politics and Society, and Contemporary Italian Politics. Mattia has also edited the Italian translation of the book Populism: a very short introduction (2017), written by C. Mudde and C. Rovira Kaltwasser.

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IMPACT, COMMUNICATIONS AND DISSEMINATION

Josh Allen

Josh Allen

Communications Officer

Josh Allen is the Web and Social Media Manager of the Populism in Action Project, creating its innovative online dissemination of research engaging with academics, journalists, policymakers, and interested members of the public.

Josh has developed academic research communications, targeting both specialist and non-specialist audiences. He has been the Digital Engagement Officer for the Past & Present Society since 2016. He previously worked for both the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham in marketing/communications, public engagement, and research impact.

Josh also works with a range of heritage and arts organisations in the West Midlands and beyond. As a journalist, he has written for The Observer, New Statesman, Vice, Apollo, and the London Review of Books, as well as numerous regional and specialist publications.

Josh earned his BA in History (2013) at the University of York and his MA in Modern British Studies (2017) at the University of Birmingham.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Professor of American Studies

Scott Lucas became Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham in 2014, having joined the University faculty in 1989 and serving as a Professor of American Studies since 1997.

He has written and edited 11 books, more than 60 major academic articles, and a radio documentary, and he co-directed the 2007 film Laban!.

Scott began his career as a specialist in US and British foreign policy, but his research interests now also cover current international affairs — especially North Africa, the Middle East, and Iran — New Media and Politics, Propaganda, and Intelligence Services.

A professional journalist since 1979, Scott founded EA WorldView in 2008. He appears regularly on British, American, and international radio and television as a specialist on current affairs, politics, and history.

Scott has been an Adjunct Professor at Tehran University and a member of the Executive Board of the Center for American Studies and Research at American University Beirut, and he is currently an Adjunct Professor with the Clinton Institute at University College Dublin. He has also been Editor of the Journal of American Studies.