CANCELLED: Populism and Democratic Backsliding in Europe



Anna Grzymala-Busse, Stanford University

Date and Time

February 6, 2020 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305




Seminar Cancellation

The Populism and Democratic Backsliding in Europe seminar has been CANCELLED. Rescheduling of this seminar is yet to be determined.

Thank you,
CISAC Events 







Abstract: How does populism erode democracy, and where does it come from? Populist parties have surged in support, and several have entered governments in Europe. In some cases, this has meant the erosion of the rule of law and liberal democratic institutions, the undermining of informal democratic values, and the divisive politics of national identity and belonging. Ironically, the causes of the populist upsurge lie in the earlier economic and political successes, especially in the younger European democracies. 
Speaker's Biography: Anna Grzymala-Busse is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. Her research interests include political parties, state development and transformation, informal political institutions, religion and politics, and post-communist politics.

In her first book, Redeeming the Communist Past, she examined the paradox of the communist successor parties in East Central Europe: incompetent as authoritarian rulers of the communist party-state, several then succeeded as democratic competitors after the collapse of these communist regimes in 1989.

Rebuilding Leviathan, her second book project, investigated the role of political parties and party competition in the reconstruction of the post-communist state. Unless checked by a robust competition, democratic governing parties simultaneously rebuilt the state and ensured their own survival by building in enormous discretion into new state institutions.

Her most recent book project, Nations Under God, examines why some churches have been able to wield enormous policy influence. Others have failed to do so, even in very religious countries. Where religious and national identities have historically fused, churches gained great moral authority, and subsequently covert and direct access to state institutions. It was this institutional access, rather than either partisan coalitions or electoral mobilization, that allowed some churches to become so powerful.

Other areas of interest include informal institutions, the impact of European Union membership on politics in newer member countries, and the role of temporality and causal mechanisms in social science explanations.