Civil society as anti-populism? Countering the populist threat and campaigning for change in the discourse of EU-level CSOs

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Abstract

Populism emerges on the terrain of modern civil society, and yet it ultimately entails existential risks for civil society’s fundamentals: populism’s essentialist stance betrays a deep tension with the principle of plurality upon which civil society and liberal democracy are founded. This chapter focuses on the work of EU-Level CSOs, which have emerged as key actors in the anti-discrimination fight at the communitarian level over the last years. Their work involves campaigning tasks such as mapping discriminatory acts, re-framing of public discourse, and lobbying at the European level. Drawing on a document and text analysis, the chapter explores the work of EU-based NGOs, and asks to what extent they build a counter-narrative, alternative to the exclusionary discourse implemented especially by right-wing politics. To this end, this chapter focuses on the main EU-Level CSOs working on gender, race, religion, and migration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Populism on European Institutions and Civil Society. Discourses, Practices, and Policies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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