Osteuropa-Studien Bern-Fribourg

Leading questions

General questions:

  • What role does the heritage of socialism and authoritarianism play in states like Hungary and Poland?
  • With which political and ideological policies do parties such as Fidesz or PiS attract voters?

1. Conceptual level and historical background:

  • How are populism, illiberal tendencies, conservatism and nationalism defined and understood? How do political actors or groups describe their own programs?
  • Where do we find the historical, cultural, socio‐economic and political causes for populism, conservatism and for illiberal tendencies?
  • Which historical reference points are used? Which historical actors / thinkers / writings / model conditions are referred to?
  • Which analytical categories and theories offer an appropriate conceptual approach (e.g., nation/nationalism, community/society, authoritarianism, identity, anti‐modernism)?
  • How can the developments in East‐Central Europe be described in a larger historical and international context (see conservatism, traditionalism, (right) populism in Russia, in Europe, in the U.S., etc.)?

2. Specific contemporary developments:

  • Processes, actors, interdependencies and receptions; which developments are specific to East‐Central Europe?
  • Analysis of the effects of the "power grab" by populist parties; the attempt to reshape politics, law, economics, and other areas of society such as the media, etc., in line with a conservative agenda.
  • Populist movements strive for discoursive hegemony in order to be able to implement their policies effectively. Which counter‐reactions and opposition at the local, national and international level can we identify? Do counter‐discourses exist, and what are their prospects of success?
  • What consequences and effects do illiberal tendencies have on a transnational level? How does the EU deal with these developments?