Populism and Civic Engagement (PaCE)

Populism and Civic Engagement” (PaCE) is an EU H2020 research project involving nine different partners across Europe. It will run from Feb 2019 – Jan 2022.

The Democratic Society are contributing to core research activities plus leading the dissemination and engagement strand. We will be:

  • Designing and facilitating a series of local democracy labs to assess public attitudes and aspirations for democracy, and to understand the way in which different types of media influence and shape political and social opinions.
  • Towards the conclusion of the programme, organising a European democracy lab to review the outputs of the research and make recommendations for future actions.
  • Encouraging discussions and sharing outputs throughout the duration of the project through relevant European networks.
  • Supporting research activities including historical, comparative and scenario analysis; narrative analysis using digital tools; developing simulations; causal, policy and futures analysis (including a broad stakeholder workshop).
  • Developing ethical, legal and social recommendations for designing public engagement campaigns and on the use of digital tools.

Contact: Kelly McBride, Head of European Networks – kelly@demsoc.org

About PaCE

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Across Europe, there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the ‘ordinary person’ – movements that can be loosely categorised as ‘populist’.

PaCE, with others, aims to combat the negative (anti-democratic) tendencies of populist movements, to build upon the lessons of positive examples (such as Reykjavik), and hence play a part in constructing a firmer democratic and institutional foundation for the citizens of Europe.

PaCE will analyse, in detail, the type, growth and consequences of such movements in terms of their particular characteristics and context. From this, it will analyse the causes of these movements and their specific challenges to liberal democracy a possibilistic analysis to complement survey/statistical approaches. In particular, it will focus on transitions in these movements (especially changes in leadership) as well as how they relate to other kinds of movements and the liberal reaction. PaCE will propose responses to these challenges, developing risk-analyses for each kind of response, each kind of movement and the type of transition. For this, it will employ the agent-based simulation of political processes and attitudes to allow thorough risk analyses to be made. Throughout the project, it will engage with citizens and policy actors, especially groups under-represented in public affairs, face-face and via new forms of democratic participation appropriate to our digital age to help guide the project and to comment on its outputs.

It will develop new tools, based on machine-learning algorithms for identifying and tracking populist narratives and to aid online consultation. It will result in specific interventions aimed at:the public, politicians, activists and educators. It will look further into the future, developing new visions concerning how we could respond to populism and it will warn about longer-term trends.

Download the proposal: http://cfpm.org/file_download/192/Bare+PaCE+Proposal.pdf


Coordinator: Manchester Metropolitan University


City of Reykjavik (RVK)


The Centre for Liberal Strategies Foundation (CLS)


The Paris-Lodron University (PLU)


The Technical University of Dresden (TUD)


The Democratic Society (DS)


Trilateral Research (TRI)


University of Helsinki (UH)


Citizens Foundation (CF)


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