First Helsinki Conference on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation (2019)

The first Helsinki Conference on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation took place from 19 to 21 August 2019. The conference was organised by two Academy of Finland – funded projects: Mainstreaming Populism in the 21st Century (MaPo) and Whirl of Knowledge: Cultural Populism in European Polarised Politics and Societies (WhiKnow). It was also organised in connection with two Helsinki Summer School courses: “Rhetoric-Performative and Post-Foundational Analysis” and “Populism on the Loose in Europe and Beyond”.

The conference focused on different cases that explore the link between emotions and populism, as well as discuss polarisation in politics, media, and culture. The aim of the conference was to bring together a variety of international researchers at all career stages dealing with a broad range of topics that employ a post-structuralist and/or post-foundational approach to critical inquiry.  Both the summer schools and the conference drew on the political philosophy of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, and advanced the discourse theoretical, hegemony-focused Essex School approach.



PDF of 2019 conference programme

Monday, 19 August 2019

Welcome Remarks, Keynote Address by Emmy Eklundh, 09:00-10:30 Hall 1: Emotions, Protest, Democracy: Collective Identities in Contemporary Spain

Coffee break 10:30-11:00

Panel Session 1, 11:00-12:30

1-1 Populism and representation: “elites” vs. “the people”, Hall 12
Chair:      Juha Herkman (University of Helsinki)
Papers:    Calvin Duggan (University of Amsterdam): Reconfiguring Representation: A Material-Discursive Analysis of the Cancelled Brexit Vote

Vesa Heikkinen (University of Helsinki): Politics as Change or Preservation – A case of Experts against Citizens?

Sara Garcia Santamaria (Universitat Ramon Llull) and Ricardo Lessa Filho (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco): Posing with the People: Food Porn and the Far-Right in a Post-Truth Era 

1-2 The role of emotions in election campaigns, Hall 4
Chair:     Mikko Salmela (University of Helsinki)
Papers:   Sara Tafakori (London School of Economics and Political Science): The affective and the popular: economic sanctions, Iran’s presidential election, and the emergence of the ‘compassionate state’

Olga A. Baysha (N. R. U. Higher School of Economics, Moscow): “The Public Servant”: On the Role of Humor in the Populist Anti-Establishment Mobilization in the Ukraine of 2019. 

Balázs Kiss (Hungarian Academy of Science): Dramatic and Postdramatic: Strategies of Emotion Management 

1-3 Media and the “post-truth” era, Hall 11
Chair:          Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki)
Papers:         Krisztián Szabados (Corvinus University of Budapest): Populism and Anti-Science Politics: A New Analytical Framework 

Tales Tomaz (Universität Salzburg): Media monitoring from a post-foundational ontology

Joonas Koivukoski (University of Helsinki): Verbal Humor in Populist Discourse – Jab Lines in Timo Soini’s Journey from Margin to Minister 

Lunch break 12:30-13:30

Panel Session 2, 13:30-15:00

2-1 Hybrid Media and Political Engagement, Hall 12
Chair:             Sara Garcia (Universitat Ramon Llull)
Papers:           Maxim Alyukov (University of Tyumen/University of Helsinki): TV and the Internet as Hybrid Media System: Cognitive Ecology and Russian TV Viewers’ Political Information Processing During Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Dolors Palau Sampio (University of Valencia):The emergence of a populist radical right in Spain: Capitalising dissatisfaction and emotion in a polarised hybrid media context

Ilana Hartikainen (University of Helsinki): Celebrity Populist Success in Hybrid Media Systems: The Czech Case 

2-2 Concepts and theory of affect: ressentiment and joy, Hall 4
Chair:           Mark Devenney (University of Brighton)
Papers:          Matthias Lorenz (University of Vienna): Spinoza’s Theory of Affect in recent debates on Populism and Political Subjectivity

Luis Gabriel Rojas (National Autonomous University of Mexico): Ernesto Laclau’s populism: binding popular demands with ressentiment?

Tereza Capelos (University of Birmingham) and Mikko Salmela (University of Helsinki): Ressentiment – A Complex Emotion or An Emotional Mechanism?

2-3 Authoritarianism, populism and conflict, Hall 7
Chair:            Pinar Uyan (Istanbul Bilgi University)
Papers:         Aydin Atilgan (Near East University, Cyprus): Conservative and Authoritarian Populism in Turkey: Populist Dual State of 21st Century

Niki Sopanen (University of Helsinki): Crouching (paper) tiger, hidden (paper) dragon, and the clash of the conspiratorial turn? A post-foundational inquiry into foreign political conspiracy theory discourses in Sino-U.S. relations since the events of Tiananmen

Halil Gürhanlı (University of Helsinki): Beyond Populism: From Scholarship to Politics in “New” Turkey

Coffee break 15:00-15:30

Panel Session 3, 15:30-17:00

 3-1 The importance of media for populist parties and leaders: cases of Romania and Poland, Hall 12
Chair:             Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius (University of Helsinki)
Papers:          Ionut-Valentin Chiruta (University of Tartu): Profiling populism rhetoric in Romania’s PSD-ALDE alliance: how populism and ‘mogulized’ media outlets polarize the society from 2015-2019

Beata Królicka (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń) and Radosław Sojak (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń): External pluralism? Political parties’ access to radio and television in contemporary Poland (2015-2019)

Ruta Kazlauskaite (University of Helsinki): Instrumentalization of Shame in Polish Right-Wing Media Coverage of the 2019 European Parliament Elections

3-2 Online meaning-making, Hall 11
Chair:            Markku Jokisipilä (University of Turku)
Papers:          Ana Lúcia Migowski (Justus Liebig University): Memory and Discourse Theory: an analysis of contingent meanings regarding the Brazilian Military Dictatorship on Facebook 

Jussi Pakkasvirta (University of Helsinki): The re-shaping of Finnish Populism, 2010-2019

Maarit Pedak (University of Helsinki): Risk communication in a populist era. Anti-vaccine -topic and the threat of measles epidemic in Finland

3-3 Exclusion and Inclusion, Hall 7
Chair:             Niki Sopanen (University of Helsinki)
Papers:            Tuomas Tervasmäki (Tampere University): Inclusive communities through education: reaching beyond exclusive identification   

Kristina Khutsishvili (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa): Political Emotions and Identities: Possible Links of Narrative and Imagination

Lennart Soberon (Ghent University): Untangling the strings of animosity: left-populism and agonistic politics in the American action film. 

Short break 17:00-17:15

Keynote Address by Pinar Uyan and Emre Erdogan, 17:15-18:30 Hall 1: Discussing the role of emotions in the polarized populist politics of Turkey: Fear, Anger and Love

Conference Dinner (Optional), 19:00-22:00 

Restaurant Onda (Hämeentie 13 B, 00530 Helsinki)


Mainstreaming Populism Keynote, 09:00-10:30 Hall 1: Tuija Saresma: Populism in the Digital Era: Affect, Othering, and Intersectionality

Niko Hatakka: Populism in the Hybrid Media System

Coffee break 10:30-11:00

Panel Session 4, 11:00-13:00

 4-1 Gender, politics and representation, Hall 12
Chair:         Tuija Saresma (University of Jyväskylä)
Papers:       Vered Porzycki (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Mind the Gap: Themes in Women’s Representation in Parties’ Discourse in the European Parliament

Proma Ray Chaudhury (Dublin City University): Populist Gender Discourse(s) in the Political Parties of Contemporary Bengal: A Study of the All India Trinamool Congress and the Bhartiya Janata Party.    

Pille Ubakivi-Hadachi (Tallinn University): Gendered meaning-making in populist politics – the case of Conservative People’s Party of Estonia 

4-2 Space and polarisation, Hall 7
Chair:          Christopher Lizotte (University of Helsinki)
Papers:        Tuula Vaarakallio (University of Jyväskylä): Political polarisation and the Gilets jaunes movement in France

Vera da Cunha Pasqualin (Universidad Complutense de Madrid): The Street Carnival of São Paulo reflecting the polarised society in Brazil in 2019 

Kees Terlouw (Utrecht University): Legitimising identity discourses and metropolitan networks: urban competitiveness versus territorial protection 

Hande Eslen-Ziya (University of Stavanger): From anger to solidarity: The emotional echo-chamber of Gezi Park Protests

4-3 ABSENT PRESENTERS session: emotions, affects and post-politics, ONLINE and Hall 8
Chair:              Emre Erdogan (Istanbul Bilgi University)
Papers:            Olivier Jutel (University of Otago): Post-Politics and Disavowal: Liberal Journalism’s Response to Trump

Pedro Ponte e Sousa (New University of Lisbon): The use of emotions and the promotion of contentious foreign policy options: continuity and change in the case of Portugal

Tuğçe Erçetin (Istanbul Bilgi University): Under a Fear-Driven Populism Scenario: “Us and Them”

Discussant:      Spyros Sofos (Lund University)

Lunch break 13:00-13:40

Panel Session 5, 13:40-15:10

 5-1 Populism and Masculinities in American Media Debates, Hall 12
Chair:                 Urpo Kovala (University of Jyväskylä)
Papers:              Outi Hakola (University of Helsinki): Political Parody and Populist Masculinity of Donald Trump in Saturday Night Live

Janne Salminen (University of Helsinki): When Masculinity Becomes Toxic: The Clashing Masculinities of Mad Max: Fury Road

Juho Turpeinen (University of Helsinki): Land and Populism: From the Tea Party to Trumpism

5-2 Populist discourses and political polarization, Hall 7
Chair:             Laura Sibinescu (University of Helsinki)
Papers:            Andre Krouwel (Free University in Amsterdam), Ioan Hosu (Babes-Bolyai University Cluj), and Mihnea Stoica (Babes-Bolyai University Cluj): Populist discourse on elite failure and blaming immigrants: How cultural, not economic issues drive political polarization in European democracies

Nino Gozalishvili (Central European University – CEU): The National-Populist Mobilization of “Georgian March”: Facebook as a Platform for Legitimizing Anti-Immigrant Discourses and Polarization around the Notion of Europe

Iro Särkkä (University of Helsinki): Sense and Sensibility – Emotions and Polarized Politics of NATO in the post-Cold War Finnish Foreign and Security Policy Debate

5-3 Media and their role in eliciting emotions, Hall 8
Chair:              Dolors Palau Sampio (University of Valencia)
Papers:             Burcu Sezer (Ankara University): The Emotions of Islamic Populism in Turkey: An Examination on the magazine “Cins”

Andrzej Meler (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń) and Beata Królicka (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń): Hate speech and mourning in Polish political discourse: The case for automated voice emotion analysis

Coffee break 15:10-15:30

Panel Session 6, 15:30-17:00

 6-1 Contested issues in U.S. public discourse and Latin America, Hall 12
Chair:           Nicola Nymalm (Swedish Institute of International Affairs)
Papers:          Marc-Antoine Rancourt (Laval University): Is the Death Penalty Debate Really Dead? Contrasting Capital Punishment Support in Canada and the United States

Inna Sukhenko (University of Helsinki): Emoting “atom for peace” in US nuclear fiction

Virpi Salojärvi (University of Helsinki): The role of media in a “post-populist” dynamic: The case of Venezuela under Maduro’s regime 

6-2 Anti-immigration Discourses and Islamophobia in Europe, Hall 7
Chair:                  Tuire Liimatainen (University of Helsinki)
Papers:               Tereza Capelos (University of Birmingham) and Jessica Small (University of Birmingham): Mapping Emotion Walls: an analysis of leaders’ anti-immigration narratives in the UK European Elections

Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki), Anu A Harju (University of Helsinki), and Emilia Palonen (University of Helsinki): #TurkuAttack – A Critical Analysis of Islamophobia as Populism in the Digital Public Space

6-3 Populist discourses on democracy, Hall 8
Chair:                  Emmy Eklundh (King’s College London)
Papers:                Maria Balea (University of Bucharest): Defenders of democracy: Populist discourse and democracy in Italy and the United Kingdom

François Debras (University of Liege): Identity democracy, radical democracy: how does right-wing populism use the notion of democracy in its speeches?

Mohsen Abbaszadeh Marzbali (University of Mazandaran, Iran) and Mohammad Radmard Soleymandarabi (University of Mazandaran, Iran): Democracy, Development, and the Challenge of Populism (With a Focus on Contemporary Iran)

Short break 17:00-17:15

Keynote Address by Mark Devenney, 17:15-18:15, Hall 1: Querying the People: Queering the Demos

 Conference Reception,18:30-21:00:

Welcome Address by Prof. Pertti Ahonen


WhiKnow Plenary Discussion, 09:00-11:00
Location: Think Corner Stage (Yliopistonkatu 4, 00100 Helsinki)

Emilia Palonen and Virpi Salojärvi (University of Helsinki): Introduction to the Whirl of Knowledge project (2019-2022)

 Laura Sibinescu (University of Helsinki): The Challenges of Measuring Political Polarization with Big Data: An Application on The Use of Twitter in the 2019 European Parliament Elections

Commentary and discussion

Lunch break 11:00-13:00

Panel Session 7, 13:00-15:00

Panel Session with affiliated Helsinki Summer School courses’ participants presenting, 13:00-15:00

7-1 Right-wing and Left-wing Populism: Political Polarization and Participation, Hall 12
Chair:        Ilana Hartikainen (University of Helsinki)
Papers:      Zea Szebeni (University of Helsinki): The functions and effects of fake news and their association with political polarization 

Sophie Schmalenberger (Aarhus University): Populism beyond the “Never again!”: The AfD as Memory Alternative for Germany 

Jessica Adams (University of East London): Participatory art, political participation, and left populism in the UK 

Jiun-Chi Lin (KU Leuven/ National Sun Yat-sen University): Comparing Online Right-wing and Left-wing Populist Communication: Analysing Facebook Contents of AfD’s and The Left’s Top Candidates in the 2017 Bundestagswahl 

Break, 15:00-15:30

Panel Session 8, 15:30-17:00

Panel Session with affiliated Helsinki Summer School courses’ participants presenting, 15:30-17:00

8-1 Freedom of Expression, Truth and Ideology in Historical and Contemporary Perspective, Hall 12
Chair:        tbc
Papers:      Michael Cole (University of Tartu): Alternative Truths: The Kerch Strait Incident and Martial Law in Russian Language News Headlines 

Jaanika Erne (University of Tartu): The Concept of Expression in Classical, Modern, and Postmodern Contexts 

Otto Kyyrönen (Tampere University/ University of Jyväskylä): Retracing Ideology: The Four Marxist Traditions 

End of Conference