The Conference assembles a wide range of international researchers at all career stages, to examine populism, polarisation, and emotions, particularly from a discursive and cultural approach. We welcome contributions from a wide range of fields. There are 170 presenters and more than 200 participants confirmed from various parts of Europe, as well as attendees from Brazil, Australia, Argentina, India, South Africa, Nigeria, and the United States joining us in Helsinki on December 11-13!

Our keynotes are prominent scholars on discursive approach to populism and nationalism; Benjamin DeCleen, Hande Eslen-Ziya and Mercedes Barros, who, throughout her visit in Helsinki, will also give a Christina seminar talk and doctoral course at the UH Dirty words: Feminism, populism and hegemony.

The conference is co-funded by the EC Horizon2020 project D.Rad Deradicalisation in Europe and beyond, Now Time Us Space project funded by the Kone Foundaton, as well as Datafication of the Society Project. Key areas of exploration include the emergence of grievances, alienation, and polarization, along with an investigation into the rise of religious populism, the formation of epistemic communities, and the logic of datafied forms of communication contributing to polarization. We are also interested in exploring the concepts of "North" and "South," the relationship between them globally and locally, as well as the hegemonic struggle in this field.

Following the main conference, we co-organise with local colleagues special Symposium Day will take place at the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, on 14 December, where colleagues from 18 countries will join us - taking the night train. International colleagues and HEPPsters team will also hold a workshop in Pyhä-Luosto Naava with a public viewing of Katja Gauriloff´s new movie Je'vida on 16 December, as part of the D.Rad Hub on Ethnonationalism in Europe and addressing the hegemonic struggles in the North.


In the recent years, HEPPsters have been engaging in themes of populist mobilisation in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly the relationship between time and space, and how this relationship informs the construction of ‘Us’. In the previous edition, HEPP3 paid special attention to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In 2023, this theme is expanded to reflect on the rise of ethno-nationalism. We are here also drawing on our Horizon2020 project on Deradicalisation in Europe and beyond, where the key thematic is social exclusion as the driver for violent radicalisation, emergence of grievance, alienation, and polarisation. We also want to investigate the emergence of religious populism, the formation of epistemic communities, and logics of datafied forms of communication that also deal with polarisation. We hope to incite theoretical and empirical discussions of these themes and more.

After the Conference, presenters are invited to submit their reviewed papers to be considered for our Working Papers series. 

The Conference encourages papers that approach the following and related themes:  

  • Political (Mis)use of Time and Space  
  • (De)radicalisation, Radicalism and Violent Extremism 
  • (Ethnic) Nationalism and Populism 
  • Misogyny, Xenophobia and Racism 
  • Euroscepticism, Europhilia, and Eurocentrism 
  • (Post-)Pandemic Populisms 
  • Epistemic Populisms and Academic Knowledge 
  • Populist logics of Datafication and Populism 
  • Religion and Populism 
  • Populist Dynamics and the Global South  
  • North-South Relations and (Post)Colonialism 
  • Imperialism and Emotions 
  • Affects and Emotions in Politics and Policy 
  • Agonism, Antagonism, and the “Us” 
  • Gender in Populism and Polarisation  
  • Cultural Populism and Populist Challenges on Culture 
  • Political humour and populist rhetoric 
  • Political Communication and Media in Times of War and Crisis 
  • Populist Dynamics and the Logic of Populism 



After the success of our first HEPP conference on "Emotions, Populism, and Polarised Politics, Media, and Culture" in August 2019, we decided to continue with conferences in May 2021 and June 2022 - and December 2023. The aim of this series of conferences is to bring together a variety of international researchers at all career stages dealing with a broad range of topics that employ a post-structuralist and/or post-foundational approach to critical inquiry. The conferences seek to address different issues from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, especially those exploring the intersection of different positionalities and challenging bounded national contexts.

This series of conferences are organised by the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation, which is composed of several projects led by Emilia Palonen and Juha Herkman at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.