MAPO Consortium

The backbone of the centre is the Helsinki team for Academy of Finland funded Mainstreaming Populism (2017-2021). We look forward to engaging with scholars in our partner universities (the consortium in Finland with Centre for the Study of Contemporary Culture Jyväskylä and Centre for Finnish Parliament Turku).

MAPO: Antagonistic populistic style is fast becoming the “only game in town” as mainstream politicians and parties colour their policies increasingly with a clearly populist streak. The populist mode flourishes in public discussions, while populist parties are governing some countries and determining the political agendas in many others. One may ask what does the rise of populism mean for the idea of (liberal) democracy? MAPO aims to investigate, map and discuss different forms of mainstreaming of populism in Europe and the Americas with the help of case studies and employment of comparative perspective. We take as our hypothesis that populism is a process, logic of articulation, rather than a simple category, and therefore our research questions seek to explore when, where and to what extent the mainstreaming processes take place. We investigate three types of mainstreaming: (1) mainstreaming the left and right populist parties themselves, (2) the other (mainstream) parties adopting populist logic of articulation, and (3) the transformation of the populist mode to public debates and the media.

The director of the consortium Juha Herkman, is an Academy of Finland research fellow and a Senior Lecturer in Communication Studies. The Helsinki team includes Emilia Palonen, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, Virpi Salojärvi, postdoctoral researcher in Communication Studies and Halil Gürhanli, doctoral researcher in Political Science. Their research interests extend from populism in Nordic countries (Herkman) to populism in Finland and Hungary (Palonen), Venezuela and the US (Salojärvi) and Turkey (Gürhanli).