Research Projects

RAGE: Hate speech and populist othering In Europe: Through the race, age, gender looking glass

Note! The stakeholder seminar presenting the project outcomes has been postponed to the spring term 2015 (the dissemination phase of the project). All the participants and collaborators of the research will be notified closer to the date of the event.


RAGE is a comparative project funded by the EU's DG Justice, 'Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme'. The project examines 'populist' political discourse and its effect on those 'othered' by such discourse, particularly in the context of economic austerity and dwindling opportunities for young people. Eight teams covering nine EU member states (UK, France, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, Austria, Finland and Slovenia) will take a mixed-methods approach to the analysis of populist discourse and its effects.

The research will take for its starting point contemporary debates on and/or court trials for speech deemed offensive or hateful, and related acts. This will lead to a focus on particular movements, groups or political parties, and the opposing organisations that are the protagonists of such debate. It will examine the definition, production and perception of political speech that some see as offensive, and that defined as 'hate crime', and how young people of Europe's 'lost generation' engage with or oppose such politics and actions.

The project will examine the ways in which young activists incorporate populist politics into their everyday life, including how they define their membership of a 'community', and how they consider issues of gender and sexuality. Through engagement with civil society organisations it will also examine the effects of such populism, and the discourses of those who seek to challenge 'populist othering'.

The project will be developed through three interlocking workstreams, implemented through an integrated multi-method approach (content analysis of on-line sources, digital ethnography, participant-observation and biographical interviews).

This combines the antages of extensive transnational comparative data analysis, on the basis of primary qualitative data, and the maximization of interpretive depth, through triangulation with quantitative data sets, combining research at the discursive, attitudinal and behavioural levels. Round tables and conferences will engage with civil society in order to discuss 'othering' speech in terms of societal trends, political action and communication, generational problems and subjective perceptions.

Coordination UK: University of Leicester Dr Gabriella Lazaridis, Coordinator Department of Politics and International Relations University Road Leicester, LE1 7RH / Dr Lazaridis Tel: +44 116 252 5062, Fax: +44 116 252 5082

The Finnish team is lead by Aino Saarinen. Members include Kaarina Aitamurto, Airi Markkanen, Anca Enache and Heini Puurunen.

Funding: EU’s DG Justice, ‘Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme’

Duration: 2/2013 – 1/2015

Coordinator's website:

Project handout (pdf)

Other Participants Helsinki: Aleksanteri-instituutti/ Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki Austria: Universität Wien / University of Vienna Bulgaria: Центърът за академични изследвания София / Centre for Advanced Study Sofia Denmark: Aalborg Universitet / Aalborg University France: Université Paris 8 / University of Paris 8 Italy: Università degli Studi di Firenze/ University of Florence Slovenia: Mirovni inštitut / Peace Institute