My past and current research agenda deals with the following themes. You can click on each one to find out more:

Populist & Anti-Populist Polarisation in the Age of Post-Truth

This research project investigates the deep socio political polarisation between populism and anti-populism in the so-called age of post-truth. While populism received enormous scholarly and public attention – commonly associated with misinformation and anti-vax movements – the role anti-populists play in contemporary democracies is largely overlooked. This study shifts focus from populism's consequences on polity, policy and politics, to its dynamic relationship with anti-populism. Polarisation, between people and elites, populists and anti-populists, constitutes a core feature of post-pandemic politics. This study intervenes in current debates and emphasises the role elites, and not only populists, play in fuelling anti-establishment mobilisation. Furthermore, this project zooms into grassroots politics and seeks to understand how political participation changed in times where gatherings were banned and governments ordered citizens to 'stay home'. 

Populism in Opposition, Populism in Power

My past research dealt with populism’s transition from opposition to power, focusing specifically on the cases of Donald Trump and SYRIZA. It went beyond paradigms expecting populism either to fail, turn mainstream or authoritarian once in government. Rather, it brought to the discussion the notions of collective identity, political style and emotions that are largely overlooked in the literature. Through the employment of discourse analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic research conducted in the USA and Greece, this research project argued that populism is a political style that through transgressive performativity – identified in language, bodily performativity and transgressive dynamics – constructs collective identities and electorally mobilises the masses through emotional appeals. As such, in government, populism was examined in terms of the way populist leaders perform in power, how their discourse changes and how peoples’ affective identification strengthens or weakens. This research has generated many publications on adjacent topics such as varieties of populism and their relationship with democracy, social movements, political parties and charismatic leaderships, nationalism, digital media as well as anti-populism.

The Politics of Crisis in Southern Europe: Governmentality, Resistance, Normalisation

This project investigates the economic crisis in Southern European periphery, particularly in Greece and Spain. The main empirical focus lies on the various responses and understandings of the crisis which we define as technologies of governance. On the one hand lie elite responses: they include mechanisms such as debt and austerity. On the other hand lie grassroots responses: they include prefegurative politics, assemblies and alterative political visions.

Although there are a lot of studies about the financial crisis, especially in southern Europe, our project offers two contributions that have not been addressed by the literature so far. First, develop a broader understanding of what ‘crisis’ means and go beyond the period 2010-2013 which is the one mainly understood as the moment of crisis in the two countries. In this respect, we extent our focus on the whole decade in that, as we argue, the crisis has passed from a moment of exception and ended up in a permanent state in which crisis was normalised. This being said, we end our period of focus in 2019 with the capitulation of SYRIZA and the institutionalisation of PODEMOS in its coalition with PSOE. Following from this, the second contribution our project makes is that it follows the trajectory of social movements, ‘movement-parties’ and radical politics in general until the end. Although, literature has paid sufficient attention to the emergence of these movements, there is an evident gap with respect to their trajectory. Our project addresses themes related to the consequences of institutionalisation as well as the alternative paths social movements followed when the left assumed power. 

This project is connected with the GRESPA project led by Associate Professor Dr. Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Aristotle University) and was funded by the Hellenic Research & Innovation Fund. 

Left-wing populism

Left-wing populism constitutes a central aspect of my research agenda. Throughout my doctoral and postdoctoral career, I have researched extensively the emergence of contemporary left-wing populism, its relationship with social movements, its discursive and performative style, symbols and aesthetics. Following the setbacks of various contemporary leftists who have often framed as democratic populists (Bernie Sanders, Podemos, Corbyn, SYRIZA) and the proclamation of the ‘end of the populist moment’, I have directed my focus in conceptualising what ‘success’ and ‘failure’ means when discussing left-wing populism and left politics in general.  

As of 2020, together with Professor Yannis Stavrakakis, we sought to address issues concerning the limits and prospects of radical left (populist) politics. Our contributions to the ongoing debate concern: the consequences of institutionalisation, the limits of left populism but also the prospects for a new populist moment, perhaps through its connection with questions related to environmentalism and universal access to healthcare. Our contributions are part of a heated albeit vigorous debate which involves theoretical and strategic exchanges with important scholars in this field. 

Work in progress