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Dimitris Sotiropoulos (University of Athens), ‘Populism, party politics, and the economic crisis: contrasting the case of Greece with the case of Portugal’

Discussant: Lamprini Rori (University of Exeter)

Research webinar series on Modern Greek Studies organised by the British School at Athens and the Greek Politics Specialist Group

Organisers: Eirini Karamouzi (University of Sheffield) and Lamprini Rori (University of Exeter) – Hosted by the British School at Athens


Among all South European countries, Greece underwent the most severe economic crisis in the 2010s which to an extent only can be attributed to pre-crisis populist governing policies. Yet the onset of the crisis gave rise to dormant populist reactions, which combined with diffuse political discourse and the political party system. In contrast to the comparable case of Portugal, populism in Greece was reflected in the emergence or strengthening of populist parties on the Left and the Right, the adoption of populism as political discourse by an otherwise radical left-wing party (Syriza), and its rise to power in 2015 on the wave of social reactions to austerity policies. Populism was also manifested in the adoption of populist governing policies during Syriza’s government rule, in coalition with the nationalist right-wing Anel party, in 2015-2019. The spread of populism and its rise to power in Greece are analyzed in the light of the opposite experience of Portugal and are attributed to following causes: legacies of democratic practice after the 1974 transition to democracy, traditions of political culture and the polarization of the party system, in addition to the gravity and long duration of the recent economic crisis which was a catalyst for the sea change in Greek politics in 2011-2019.

Short bio

Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos is professor of political science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece and Research Associate of the Hellenic Observatory of the London School of Economics. Since he obtained his PHD (Yale, 1991), he has published in Greek and English on Greek, South European and Southeast European politics and society, focusing on democratization and its setbacks, public bureaucracy, civil society, and the welfare state. In the academic year 2018-2019 Dimitri was visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies and the Seeger Center of Hellenic Studies, Princeton University. In the same year he was visiting professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University).

Monday 5 October, 5pm (UK) / 7pm (Greece)

Research webinar
When: 5 October, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm UTC+2
Where: – –