Populism Research Group

The Populism Research Group (PRG) at Loughborough University was established in 2018 and aspires to build a dynamic School-wide intellectual community for Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) and members of staff working on different aspects of the populist phenomenon.

The aims of the group are to:

  • establish an informal space for the discussion, critique and development of theoretical and empirical studies on populism;
  • support and link research on populism across scholarly disciplines in the University;
  • coordinate with other Universities and external networks to promote international collaborative research and outreach activities;
  • organise seminars and reading groups for postgraduate researchers working on populism as well as high-profile guest lectures that can appeal to broader audiences
  • facilitate innovative research that can feed into teaching and learning activities;
  • seek external funding for collaborative research projects on populist politics.

The group aligns with the Social, Political and Cultural Theory current of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University but also fosters interdisciplinary research with colleagues grouped in the Political Communication and Nations, Migrations and Citizenship themes. It is linked internationally with the POPULISMUS network (based at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), the Populism Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association and collaborates with DESIRE (Centre for the Study of Democracy, Signification and Resistance in Brussels).

Group convener: Panos Panayotu.

For additional information or enquiries, contact us at: p.panagiotou2@lboro.ac.uk.

Our activities (guest lectures, presentations, reading group sessions, etc.) are free and open to all. Our schedule for the academic year 2021-2022 can be found below.

Date / time / roomSpeaker/presenterThemeInformation
3 November
13:00 – 14:00
[via Teams]

Aidan McGarry & Petre Breazu
(both Loughborough University
London, UK)

Discussant: Emmy Eklunh

Romaphobia in the Age of Populism: A Comparative Study of UK and Swedish Media Book your place for free here

8 December
14:00 – 15:00

[via Teams]

Paris Aslanidis
(Yale University)

Margaret Canovan, Populist Gadfly Book your place for free here.

25 February

[hybrid format]

Alexandros Kioupkiolis 
(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece / Loughborough IAS Fellow)

Commoning populism or popularising the commons: issues of transformative strategy Book your place for free here.


Guy Aitchison (International Relations, Politics and History)

Marco Antonsich (Geography and Environment)

Petre Breazu (Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance)

Stavros Kartsonas (International Relations, Politics and History)

Giorgos Katsambekis (founder/convener 2018-2022; International Relations, Politics and History)

Ruth Kinna (International Relations, Politics and History)

Caglar Ozturk (International Relations, Politics and History)

Panos Panayotou (International Relations, Politics and History)

Giulia Piccolino (International Relations, Politics and History)

James Stanyer (Communication and Media)

Václav Štětka (Communication and Media)

Thomas Swann (International Relations, Politics and History)

Maria Tsiko (International Relations, Politics and History)

External associates

Benjamin De Cleen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Emmy Eklundh (King’s College London)

Simona Guerra (University of Leicester)

Lazaros Karavasilis (Universität Bremen)

Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Aurelien Mondon (University of Bath)

Marina Prentoulis (University of East Anglia)

Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)


  • Populism Research Group founding member, Lazaros Karavasilis, has secured a 3-year postdoctoral researcher position at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies of the University of Bremen in Germany, where he will be working along with leading scholars in the field on a project that examines the relationship between party-political organisation and protest discourses in recent social movements.
  • Giorgos Katsambekis participated in the Roundtable discussion "Is anti-populism the way to react to populism?" on 23 May 2022, which was organised by "The Populism Seminar" team. The video recording of the event is now available to watch here
  • Giorgos Katsambekis delivered an invited lecture at the workshop "Discourse Analysis: Theory, Method, Philosophy" hosted by the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute on 13 April 2022.



  • Giorgos Katsambekis gave a presentation around his work on populism at the Global Politics Lecture Series at EISPS hosted by University College London on December 9th 2020.
  • Giorgos Katsambekis was interviewed by Matti Koskinen for a story that was published in issue 3/2020 of Ulkopolitiikka, the Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs. The interview touched upon developments around the pandemic and politics in Europe, with a special focus on populism. Available to read in full here (in Finnish).
  • Call For Papers: "Populism, Discourse, Radical Democracy," PhD Workshop at POLIS Loughborough University, 2nd July 2020. Keynote Speaker: Professor Oliver Marchart (University of Vienna). Prospective participants are asked to submit a 250-word abstract as well as a short biographical note (up to 80 words) as one file (word or pdf) to p.panagiotou@lboro.ac.uk by 10th February 2020. (To download the full CfP in pdf format, click here).


  • Lazaros Karavasilis has published an article in the WZB Democracy Blog titled 'Studying populism and distinguishing it from other -isms.' It can be accessed here.
  • Panos Panayotu has published a co-authored article in the Democratic Audit, titled 'The Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the limitations of transnational populism.' It can be accessed here.
  • Stavros Kartsonas will present his work at the Moving Media, Memory, and History PGR Conference, 13 June 2019, Loughborough University
  • Lazaros Karavasilis, Stavros Kartsonas and Panos Panayotou will present their work at the International Conference in Ideology and Discourse Analysis, 31 May - 1 June 2019, University of Essex
  • Lazaros Karavasilis will present his work at the postgraduate Populism Study Circle Seminar at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 22 May 2019
  • Lazaros Karavasilis will join the Centre for Political Research at Panteion University in Athens as a Visiting Researcher in May 2019. 
  • Lazaros Karavasilis and Panos Panayotou will present their work at the seminar of the Research Network for the Analysis of Political Discourse of the Hellenic Political Science Association on the 10th of May 2019.
  • Giorgos Katsambekis was elected as co-convener of the Populism Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association (PSA) for a 3-year term.
  • Panos Panayotou and Lazaros Karavasilis presented their work at the 69th Annual International Conference of the Political Studies Association (PSA) in Nottingham (15-17 April 2019).
  • The 3rd annual Workshop of the Populism Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association (PSA) was held at Loughborough University on the 12th and 13th of April 2019. Presenters came from various universities of the UK, from across Europe as well as from India and Turkey. Members of the Loughborough Populism Research Group, Panos Panayotou and Thomas Swann also presented their work. All panels, as well as the two Keynotes, were extremely well attended.
  • Giorgos Katsambekis was invited by the Nationalism, Populism, and Radicalism research group of  the University of Bath to present his work at a seminar titled 'Interrogating Populism' on 28 March 2019.
  • Lazaros Karavasilis will be Visiting Researcher at WZB Berlin Social Science Center, working in the Research Unit Democracy and Democratization, between 28 February and 25 April 2019.


  • Call for Papers: 3rd Populism Specialist Group (PSA) Workshop, 12-13 April 2019. The confirmed Keynote speakers for the Workshop are Ruth Wodak (Lancaster University) and Michael Freeden (University of Oxford).


Past Events (2020/21)

Date / time / roomSpeaker/presenterThemeInformation
21 October (Wednesday)
14:00 – 15:00
[via Teams]

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos
(Loughborough University, UK)

Was Tolstoy a populist?  
11 November (Wednesday)
16:00 – 17:00

[via Teams]
Guy Aitchison 
(Loughborough University, UK)
Civil disobedience against
authoritarian populism
2 December (Wednesday)
14:00 – 15:00

[via Teams]
Laura Grattan 
(Wellesley College, USA)
Populist De-Identification:
#FeelingTheBern in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter
16 December
17:00 – 18:30 

[via Teams]
Thea Riofrancos
(Providence College, USA)
Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador  
17 February (Wednesday)
14:00 – 15:00

[via Teams]
Cristina Flesher Fominaya
(Loughborough University, UK)
Reloading Democracy: Critique, Re-signification, and Praxis in the Times of Crisis  
17 March (Wednesday)
14:00 – 15:00

[via Teams]

Athina Karatzogianni
(University of Leicester, UK)

Guest chair/discussant: Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University, UK)

Sleeping on a Volcano: The Ideologization Process on Digital Networks

Co-sponsored by CRCC

26 March 
14:00 – 15:30

[via Teams]

Óscar García Agustín
(Aalborg University, Denmark)

Guest discussant:
Marina Prentoulis
(University of East Anglia, UK)

The subject of Left-Populism: People, class, and intersectionality  

7 May
13:00 – 14:00

[via Teams]

Lasse Thomassen
(Queen Mary University of London, UK)


Deconstructing Sovereignty Discourse in a Time of Covid-19 Part of the CRCC Seminar Series & co-sponsored by Populism Research Group

12 May
15:30 – 16:30

[via Teams]

Kalypso Nicolaïdis 
(University of Oxford, UK)
Reimagined Democracy in Times of Pandemic    

19 May
14:00 – 15:00

[via Teams]

Katy Brown 
(University of Bath, UK)
Combining discourse analytic traditions in the study of populism   

26 May (Wednesday)
14:00 – 15:30

[via Teams]

Marina Prentoulis 
(University of East Anglia, UK)

Guest discussant: Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)

Left Populism in Europe after the financial crisis   

Past events (2019-20)

Date / time / roomSpeaker/presenterThemeInformation
6 November (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
U122 Brockington Building
Aurelien Mondon
(University of Bath)
The mainstreaming of the far right: populism, racism and "the people" In collaboration with the
CRCC Seminar Series
13 November (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
K105 Manzoni Building
Václav Štětka
(Loughborough University) 
Mediating populism: the impact of news exposure on populist attitudes and party support during the 2019 EP elections  
20 November (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
K109 Manzoni Building
Steven Parfitt
(Loughborough University)
Populism and the Knights of Labor in the late-19th-century US  


29 November (Friday)
14:30 – 16:30
Shane's on Canalside

Marina Prentoulis
(University of East Anglia) 
Giorgos Katsambekis
(Loughborough University)
Emmy Eklundh 
(King's College London)
Simon Tormey
(University of  Bristol)
Helen Drake 
(Loughborough University London)
Alexandros Kioupkiolis 
(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
‘The Populist Radical Left in Europe: Peculiarities, Prospects, Relevance’ Book-launch event / Roundtable discussion


4 February (Tuesday)
15:00 – 18:00
Lecture Theatre, Museum Studies
University of Leicester
19, University Road

SpeakerYannis Stavrakakis 
(Aristotle University)

RespondentsPeter Lunt (University of Leicester) 

Zakia Shiraz 
(University of Leicester)

ModeratorGiorgos Katsambekis 
(Loughborough University)

‘Are there limits to populist strategy?’

Part of the School of Media, Communication and Sociology Research Seminars at the University of Leicester

Co-organised by the Populism Research Group


6 March (Friday)
12:00 – 13:00
U122 Brockington Extension

Ramón A. Feenstra
(Universitat Jaume I de Castellón)

'Your democracy has been kidnapped. But is there a ransom?'  

6 March (Friday)
13:00 – 14:00
U122 Brockington Extension

Paolo Cossarini
(University of Trento)

'Sardines against Salvini. The dynamics of resistance to far-right politics in Italy.'  


Past events (2018-19)

Date / timeSpeaker/presenterThemeFormatRoomInformation
10 October (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
Giorgos Katsambekis (Loughborough University)  ‘Developments in populist studies. Mapping a booming field, setting an agenda’  Presentation of the research group. Discussion on scope, activities, collaborations  K109 Manzoni Building  
24 October (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ‘Populism, anti-populism and crisis: challenges for democracy in post-Brexit Europe’ Guest lecture in the context of the CRCC seminar series U122 Brockington Extension building Abstract & presenter bio
7 November (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
Ruth Kinna (Loughborough University)  ‘Radicalism – Situating contemporary movement practices’ Internal speaker K109 Manzoni building  
21 November (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
Emmy Eklundh  (King’s College London)  ‘Why populists aren’t mad: The role of emotions in contemporary politics’ Guest lecture K109 Manzoni building Abstract & presenter bio 
5 December (Wednesday)
13:00 – 14:00
Lazaros Karavasilis  (Loughborough University)  ‘Comparing right- and left-wing populism in Greece and Germany’ PGR presentation K109 Manzoni building  
27 February (Wednesday)
13:00 - 15:00
Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
Athina Karatzogianni (University of Leicester)
‘Horizontality, Verticality and Progressive Populism: Challenges for theory and practice’ Seminar SCH.1.05 
Schofield building
20 March (Wednesday)
14:00 - 16:00
Jonas Staal ‘Performing the people: populism in political science and in artistic performance’ Discussion with Arts & Politics PGRs. In collaboration with the Politicized Practice Research Group. Re-imagining Citizenship and Nation theme  K109 Manzoni building