A trip to the EQUIP conference in Milan

The second Association of European Qualitative Researchers in Psychology conference was held in Milan 26.6.-28.6.

We participated in the conference with a symposium: Qualitative approach to social psychology of populism: Studies of the populist mobilization and appeal in Finland and Switzerland. At the symposium, research from projects funded by the Kone Foundation and the Academy of Finland was presented by University Lecturer Jari Martikainen, doctoral researchers Helenor Tormis and Jenni Jaakkola, and doctoral researcher Vanessa Juarez from the University of Lausanne.

At first, there were two presentations from the supply-side of populism that analysed multimodality in the rhetoric of radical right populist party in Finland. First, Jari Martikainen, from the university of Eastern Finland, presented a study (here) populist mobilization by applying multimodal discourse analysis to the analysis of a political campaign video in his presentation. Then, Jenni Jaakkola, from the university of Helsinki, presented the populist mobilization strategies on a populist youth organization's campaign song, shedding light on the narrative and multimodal tools for attracting its audience.

The last two presentations tackled the demand-side, that is, voters, supporters, and laypeople, using interview material. Drawing from the material conducted in focus group interviews, Vanessa Juarez, from the university of Lausanne, examined young people’s attitudes toward the political system and discussed populism’s breeding grounds among low-status participants in Switzerland. Lastly, Helenor Tormis from university of Helsinki presented a pragmatic three-step model for conducting a critical discursive psychological analysis and examined the populist sexual and gender discourse among Finnish laypeople.

By utilizing diverse qualitative material, this symposium not only offered novel insights into the populist persuasion and lay discourses, but also applied various qualitative approaches to political communication and argumentation.

The conference was fruitful and brought together qualitative psychology researchers from around the world. The hundreds of presentations at the conference demonstrated the diversity and significance of qualitative research. The conference logo symbolized a bridge between different psychological research methods and topics. Sunny Milan and the University of Bicocca provided the perfect setting for learning and networking.