skip to main content

Research Areas


The collapse of state socialism set in train a process of unparalleled social, economic and political transformation. Not only did the Soviet-style economic systems need to be dismantled and new democratic political institutions re-built from scratch but new cognitive frameworks had to be found through which citizens could make sense of the world around them and guide their decisions about whom to trust and with whom to co-operate. In the context of the upheaval triggered by the political and economic transition, ethnic nationalism provided a sense of cohesion and stability by offering a credible explanation of the past and a guide for the present and the future. The intensifying globalisation and European integration, until recently perceived by the formerly communist societies as an opportunity for the modernisation and affirmation of Western values, created new challenges and provoked new anxieties. Diverse ideas, lifestyles and models of society were rejected by some members of the post-communist societies, choosing instead to return to traditions, conservative values and familiar mechanisms of identification and othering. While this research project focuses on the largely understood region of Central and Eastern Europe, its findings will illustrate various examples of populist rebellion, particularly against the forces of globalisation and integration, the trajectories of which can be observed around the globe.