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Understanding the relation between populism and gender in contemporary Europe
The lecture will focus on the relationship between populism and gender. Rather than looking for specific gendered aspects of populism as an ideology, I will examine a growing opportunistic synergy between the right-wing parties and ultraconservative groups opposing “gender ideology.” This synergy plays out on two distinct levels: ideological/discursive and strategic/organizational. Since populism is not a robust ideological project, it readily feeds on ideas and narrative structures promoted by the anti-gender ultraconservative movement, albeit often in an opportunistic and selective fashion. Populists also cooperate closely with the anti-gender organizations as they need new cadres in the process of a sweeping elite change. Simultaneously, the actors behind anti-gender campaigns use the organizational resources that right-wing parties offer and access to political processes, especially in contexts such as Poland where the latter are in power. What facilitates this collusion is the fact that the ultraconservative critiques of “gender” have been framed in populist terms. The movement presents itself as a necessary and courageous defense of “the people” against powerful and foreign “liberal elites,” with “gender ideology” emphatically identified as a modern version of colonialism.

Sep 15, 2022 05:00 PM in Dublin

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