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Coimbra: // Emotions, Narratives + Identities in Politics, Populism + Democracy


The UNPOP International Colloquium focuses on the role that emotions (and/or affects, passions, sentiments, feelings, moods, dispositions, and attitudes) and narratives (and/or discourses, framings, storytelling) play in forging socio-political identities and the impact that they have on political behaviour and democracy. The aim of the Colloquium is to deepen our understanding of how emotions, narratives and identities are articulated within political regimes, how they are being deployed in populism (i.e. leaders, parties, movements, attitudes), and what is the outcome for political and democratic systems and societies.

Populism powerfully mobilises social identities and emotions and will be a special focus of the Colloquium. The Colloquium has an interdisciplinary nature that includes political science, sociology, philosophy, psychology, communication, and anthropology, amongst other disciplines. We invite PhD candidates and researchers at an early or advanced stage of their careers to contribute by submitting an abstract – of a theoretical or empirical (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed) nature – that investigates issues related to, but not restricted to, the following:

Effects of emotions, narratives, and identities on populism (incl. mobilisation, form, strategy, style, and ideas) and vice versa;
Effects of emotions, narratives, and identities on political behaviour;
Intersection of emotions, narratives, identities, populism and their relation to current forms of political polarisation and extremism;
Relationship between emotions and narratives on identity formation and socio-political signification;
Impact of beliefs, values, traditions, utopias, social symbolisms, and political mythologies on social signification and political action;
Effect of (mis/dis-)information and (post-)truth on political emotions, narratives, and identities;
Consequence of (digital) communication on the changing nature of emotion, narrative, and identity formation processes;
Inference of intergroup relations and emotions on politics and democracy;
Interplay between supply and demand side politics in shaping political emotions, narratives, and socio-political identities;
Building political (mis-)trust and its consequences in relation to political affection and participation;
Opportunities and challenges of narratives enhancing the role of diversity, intercultural dialogue, and progress towards democracy;
Interplay between racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, misogyny, and other forms of discrimination and oppression with emotions, narratives, identities, and populism;
Role of emotions, narratives, identities, and populism in the mainstreaming of anti-gender ideology and white supremacy;
Challenges to the form and substance of traditional politics by populist phenomena, political adaptation, and its consequences;
Implications and consequences of right-wing extremist mobilisation of emotions, narratives, and identity formation on democracy;
Methodological reflections to identify and overcome the limits in the study of emotion, narrative, and identity formation processes;
Role of emotions, narratives, identities, and populism in the emergence, development and consolidation of protest and social movements;
Emerging scenarios for democratic theory in light of a renewed focus on narratives, emotions, and identities.

The UNPOP International Colloquium is a fully on-site (neither virtual nor hybrid) event in English (no simultaneous interpretation) aimed to stimulate a creative space of reflection, research advancement, and networking in a critical and safe environment. The keynote sessions are open to the public and no registration is needed. Video recordings will be made available on the UNPOP website after the event. The paper discussion sessions are restricted to a limited number of presenters, who are selected to present work that they are developing or finalising. Paper presenters are requested to send a statement of interest and an abstract (both max 1,500 characters; ~250 words) upon application, and a draft version of their paper (max 4,000 words from title to last reference) ahead of the conference. Paper presenters act as discussants for other papers and are requested to actively participate throughout the event programme. The Colloquium includes a round table open to the public and organised in a public space of Coimbra during the evening of the second day.

After the Colloquium, paper givers may be invited to send their reviewed and improved papers to be considered as part of a collective publication. This publication may take the form of an edited book with an international academic publisher or a scientific journal special issue.

For updated information about the UNPOP International Colloquium, please visit Link

Expected keynote speakers
Emilia Palonen, Senior University Lecturer in Political Science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki;
Emmy Eklundh, Senior Lecturer in Politics School of Law and Politics, University of Cardiff;
George Marcus, Professor of political science, emeritus, at Williams College;
João Figueiredo, Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Legal Unity and Pluralism”, University of Münster;
José Santana Pereira, Associate Professor at the ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon;
Paolo Cossarini, Researcher at the Department of Constitutional Law, Political Science and Administration, University of Valencia.

Dates and registration
Event announcement: 29 December 2022
Event dates: 24, 25, and 26 January 2024; (optional pre-conference colloquium 23 Jan);
Application: from 1 March 2023 to 31 August 2023;
Communication of selected applications: 15 September 2023;
Registration deadline for selected participants: 15 October 2023;
Submission of draft paper (max 4,000 words from title to last reference): 15 November 2023.

Discretionary (in case the quality and/or quantity of papers received is not satisfactory):

Extended application period: 15 October – 15 November 2023;
Communication of newly selected applications: 30 November 2023;
Registration deadline for newly selected participants: 15 December 2023;
Submission of draft paper (max 4,000 words from title to last reference): 15 December 2023.

Please note that failure to register or submit papers before all given deadlines may result in exclusion from the programme

Application procedure
Keynote sessions are free and open to the public, with no requirement for pre-registration. The detailed calendar will be made available at a later stage on the event page.
Applications from prospective presenters should include:

Personal and institutional information of the presenter: Full Name, affiliation, position (MA student, PhD Candidate, Post-Doc, Researcher, Lecturer, Professor);
Personal and institutional information of co-authors, if any;
Motivation statement (max 1,500 characters; ~250 words) mentioning the 3 publications most closely related to the topic of the UNPOP International Colloquium;
Curriculum Vitae of the presenter;
Title, abstract (max 1,500 characters ~250 words) and keywords of the proposed paper;

The registration fee is:

135 € for non-student presenters;
45 € for student presenters;

Coffee Breaks and lunches during the event are included in the fee.

The fee does not include either travel or accommodation costs, participants are responsible to make their own travel and accommodation reservations (a list of available accommodation options will be provided in due time to facilitate).

Financial support
The Colloquium organization is not able to provide financial support to the participants, however requests for the fee waiver may be accepted if well motivated. Participant wishing to receive a fee waiver must email the organisers in due time.

Organisers and contacts
The UNPOP International Colloquium is organised by Cristiano Gianolla, Lisete Mónico, Izabel Weber and Manuel Cruz | For any query, request or comment please email unpop@ces.uc.pt


Further Information

This event is part of the UNPOP project – UNpacking POPulism: Comparing the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour, and of its series of events aimed to explore how narratives of emotion allow a deeper analysis of the way populist phenomena constitute and influence political behaviour. The previous events of the series are available here.
Thus, the series of events developed throughout the project will address several issues involving the recent growth of populism, focusing on the role of emotions – both those considered negative such as anger and fear, and those considered positive such as hope and love – in political behaviour.
UNPOP is coordinated by Cristiano Gianolla and Lisete Mónico and is based at the Centre for Social Studies and by CINEICC – Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive and Behavioral Intervention of the University of Coimbra, and is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/CPO-CPO/3850/2020).
Information about logistics and accomodation

The UNPOP International Colloquium is a fully on-site (neither virtual nor hybrid) event in English (no simultaneous interpretation)