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Masterclass 1: Europe at the Crossroads? Brexit, populism and democracy

Social Sciences Master Classes April, Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 2019 10:00 hours Madrid

Información general:

Venue: Fundación Ramón Areces - Calle Vitruvio, 5. 28006. Madrid.

Limited capacity.

Organized by:

Fundación Ramón Areces

In cooperation with:

London School of Economics (LSE)

  • Description
  • Programme

The programme is aimed at professionals who possess at least an undergraduate qualification and who are working in business, academia, national and local governments in Spain, and research centres.

Places are limited to 25 participants for the 3 days programme and will be taught in English, for which each candidate must have a high level. Successful candidates will be offered a place on merit by a Selection Committee consisting of representatives of LSE and Fundación Ramón Areces who will meet by 25th March


Persons wishing to register for this programme must make their registration online through this website, before 22nd  March. They should send the following documents by e-mail: i.medrano@lse.ac.uk

  • Curriculum Vitae with photograph (in Spanish or English).
  • Personal statement, in English, on why you want to attend the programme (maximum 400 words).


From Hungary and Poland to Great Britain and Italy, from Austria and the Netherlands to Germany and France, election after election, populist vote has been on the rise in Europe. Voters are tiring of mainstream parties and turning to anti-establishment and anti-European options that offer allegedly ‘easy’ solutions to current problems.

Why is populism on the rise? Why has the discontent with both the established political system and European integration risen in parallel? Why has it now become such a widespread phenomenon? The rapid rise of antisystem and populist voting has attracted swift and copious academic scrutiny, but the reasons explaining this phenomenon remain hotly debated. The majority of the research has looked into the characteristics of individual voters. Older, working-class men on low incomes and with few qualifications to cope with the challenges of a modern economy have been identified as the archetype of the antisystem voter. People left behind by recent changes have deserted mainstream parties and moved in droves to anti-establishment parties both at the left and, mainly, at the right extremes of the political spectrum. Place-specific characteristics also feature strongly. Cities, towns and rural areas that have suffered long-term economic and industrial decline, that lack opportunities for their inhabitants, and often feel that there is no hope and no future have used the ballot box to express their discontent and resentment against the system.

This masterclass will delve into these topics and look at the factors which have driven the rise of populism and anti-system and Eurosceptic voting across the whole of Europe. It will, particular, consider the implications of the emergence of populist options for democracy and the future of the European Union. In a series of lectures by top LSE academics, topics like the reasons behind the emergence of populism, whether populism risks undermining the viability of the European Union, and whether it represents a major threat to our democracy and to the post-war system which has governed Europe over the last 70 years will be analysed and thoroughly discussed.

Monday, 8

Cosmopolitans vs localists?

10:00 h. 

The geography of populism: what do we know? 

Niel Lee

11:30 h.


12:00 h.

Faith no more? Rural Europe’s loss of trust in national government

Niel Lee

13:30 h.


15:00 h.

Immobility and the Brexit vote

Niel Lee

Tuesday, 9

The geography of EU discontent and the revenge of the places that don’t matter

10:00 h.

The geography of EU discontent

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

11:30 h.


12:00 h.

What causes the rise of discontent? 

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

13:30 h.

Lunch Break

15:00 h.

The revenge of the places that don’t matter

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

Wednesday, 10

Populism and Brexit

9:30 h.

What is Populism? Is it a Threat to Democracy?

Jonathan Hopkin

11:30 h.


12:00 h.

Why did Brexit Happen? What are its Prospects?

Jonathan Hopkin

14:00 h.

Certificates and Cocktail Reception
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