Our Work

A decade of work on populism from Counterpoint

Since its creation ten years ago, Counterpoint has made a number of key contributions to the study and debates around populist politics, both in Europe and further afield. We thought we would pull them together here in one place.

Long before Trump and Brexit, the Counterpoint team and its brilliant associates were writing about as well as engaging with policy and academic audiences on the rise of a new type of voter who wasn’t a typical far right supporter but was motivated by a rising sense of injustice and exclusion—and blaming the elite for their fall in status and money. We called them ‘the reluctant radicals’ and we tracked them across Europe. We wrote a report detailing who these voters were: their views, their backgrounds and their characteristics and, above all, how they varied from country to country. Even though this work is now over five years old, it is amazing – and rather sad – how much of it still holds true today.

We commissioned a set of essays from public intellectuals across Europe on the political landscapes and political cultures that shaped these voters and the rise of populist politics in each of these countries. We compiled them into a collection called Populist Fantasies with an introduction on the relationship between democracy and populism by Catherine Fieschi.

We examined the links between economics and populism as well as the link between the death of expertise and the rise of populism.

And before Trump and QAnon took them to a whole new level, we examined conspiracy theories in Europe with our partners Political Kapital in Hungary. As well as the French ‘complosphère’ – probably the most developed and active conspiracy theory network after that in the US.

Recently, our Director Catherine Fieschi published a very successful and critically acclaimed book:
Populocracy: The Tyranny of Authenticity and the Rise of Populism.

As we predicted in an earlier report, at the 2014 European Parliament elections, populists surged into the lead in a number of countries, including France, Denmark and the UK. Our analysis and forecasting of the elections and of the subsequent impact of populist parties was widely covered in the national and international press, including in The Financial TimesThe EconomistThe TelegraphCity A.M.Monocle 24LibérationNeue Zürcher ZeitungEuractiv and Der Spiegel.

Finally, we published a number of media pieces on various elections, which you can find here:


Our Work
A decade of work on populism from Counterpoint

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