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A large-scale ethnography of populism in the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland

Davidov, Veronica; Kubik, Jan; Cottica, Alberto; Góralska, Magdalena; Kocian, Jiří; Králová, Jitka; Mole, Richard; Rivera-Cardona, Santos; Sauerborn, Djan; Sloboda, Zdeněk; Szymański, Wojciech

POPREBEL is a large-scale, interdisciplinary, Horizon 2020-funded research project on the rise of populism in Central and Eastern Europe, with the goal of understanding the “anatomy” of this phenomenon and its causes, assessing its potential consequences, and proposing actionable policy solutions. Within this project, the objective of Work Package 2 (WP2) is to mobilise ethnographic methods and anthropological frameworks, paired with data visualisation and semantic network analysis, to render visible the processes of cultural meaning-making that underpin the rise of new populism in three countries under study: Poland, The Czech Republic, and Germany, with a specific emphasis on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on these processes. Through ethnographic interviews, we achieve insight into people’s affective interpretations of their social and communal reality, and analyse how these interpretations coalesce into cultural narratives and political subject formations. The combination of ethnography and network science allows us to construct a robust mixed-methods study, where we have been able to achieve nuanced country-specific and comparative insights through an iterative process that moves between ethnographic interpretation and semantic visualisation.

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