Over the last decade, the European Union (EU) experienced – since its inception – the most extensive threats, due to the consecutive waves of crises: financial, political, migration. The solution to the crisis was connected to transnational solidarity within the EU framework, and, lead to political phenomena such as the spread of populism. Within the EU, we see transnational solidarity rather as a reciprocal than an altruistic concept. Financial assistance comes with expectations for policy adaptation for the creditors, while for the debtors, reciprocal solidarity focuses on acceptance of commonly agreed policies that ensure the rejuvenation of their economies as part of the “solidarity deal”. In debtor states, reciprocal solidarity was not particularly accepted and its rejection was soon picked up by populists. They dubbed reciprocal solidarity unacceptable, and framed their discourse against the EU, shaping an image of a fighter for the people. This created a new type of representation, disclaiming ideological congruence and focusing on emotional representation. This project will develop two instruments to measure: (a) reciprocal solidarity and (b) emotional representation in the form of question batteries. These two instruments will be tested in a post-election data collection to be held in Greece in May 2019. The results can be used by the members of the LFV Krisen almost immediately, as they will thereafter be archived for re-use.

WZB and GESIS will specifically benefit from the results for their joint work on the Solikris Project; the developed indicators can be utilized by ifW for their global research on populism in a comparative political economic perspective.

Project populism and economic Upheavals since 1870: A quantitative Analysis

Participating Institutes

Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS)

Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)


Prof. Dr. Alexia Katsanidou (GESIS)

Ann-Kathrin Reinl (GESIS)