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Populism Lab

Populism Research in the Czech Republic

  • we collect data on political actors in the Czech environment
  • we analyse these data using proven techniques and methods of social sciences through the theories of populism
  • we are also able to provide a comprehensible interpretation of the results

Populism Lab Mission – we want to:

  • enhance the public debate on political actors’ statements with regard to their form and content
  • point out potentially dangerous factors related with the state of democracy and political culture (not just) in the Czech Republic
  • fulfil the role of political science as a critical social science

The main goal is to provide high-quality information service to:

  • public-policy actors
  • the public
  • social scientists with the emphasis on the possibilities of grasping populism as a phenomenon, including the means of its identification

Populism Lab Mission

Currently, the social and political space is overloaded with half-truths, shortcuts and efforts to establish various actors’ agenda that is supposed to divert attention from the fundamental functions of a democratic state, such as concerns for the opinion of the citizens, supporting republicanism, and an equal access to the most unbiased information. Information is essential for social life, as well as for qualified decisions on public affairs.

To the analysts, the state of overload is a starting ground and a source for potential researches. However, to the citizens and teachers like us, it is a situation that we feel obliged to resolve. It is not our goal to decide what is right or wrong, but to reveal how the political elites communicate with the public and what can be the source of the diversion towards the hardly sustainable – populist – shortcuts.

In the matter of methodology, the cooperation within our team aims to concentrate our abilities when identifying populist communication strategies of the actors (as well as populism’s ideological content and reconstruction of the populist style), primarily in the environment of the Czech politics, to create large empirical data corpuses based on political practice, and to discuss suitable methodological approaches for each specific case. Our research is designed to provide the option to transparently verify the outputs of our analyses that often include the identification of the extent of populism in the text(s) created by the actor(s) of public authorities.

The starting point of all team members is the use of content analysis within the frame of current scientific debate on the extent of populism and its variations in the political practice. Essentially, our goal is to contribute to the ongoing scientific debate on populism and all phenomena related. We put the emphasis on the language being as understandable as possible to provide the general public with “additional information” needed for their qualified decision.

We do not confine only to academic outputs but also to popularizing texts and lectures for the public, including communication in media and on social networks. The use of the provided information and the need for it is up to the educated public whose final choice in the political struggle we neither want nor are able to evaluate.