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  Öffentlicher Vortrag | Public Lecture

Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 5 p.m.

Political Entrepreneurs and Populism

Catherine E. De Vries, Bocconi University, Milan



The rise and fall of populist parties across Europe has attracted much attention. But is this a new phenomenon? In this talk, Catherine E. De Vries suggests not. Populist parties can be seen as a type of challenger parties, that is, political entrepreneurs without government experience seeking to disrupt the dominance of mainstream parties. She discusses how ongoing changes in European party systems compare with previous waves of challenger parties, including social democratic and green parties. She then presents the core strategies used by successful challengers, namely issue entrepreneurship and anti-establishment rhetoric, as they mobilize issues that give them an electoral advantage and attack the competence of the established political parties. Finally, she considers what the rise of challenger parties may mean for democracy in Europe.

Catherine E. De Vries is a Professor of Politics in the Department of Social and Political Science and the Dondena Research Centre at Bocconi University in Milan. She has recently published a new book "Political Entrepreneurs: The Rise of Challenger Parties in Europe", co-authored with Sara B. Hobolt, with Princeton University Press.

Preparatory reading  

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