Who and what is their people? How British political leaders appealed to the people during the 2019 elections [Report]

The 2019 UK election was touted by many as a contest between the parliament and the people. But who were ‘the people’ in question? The rise of populist politics in recent years across the world had bought ‘the’ people squarely into political discussion and as a resource to be called on by populist politicians. Looking at twitter in the context of the UK election we can see what was meant in this context.

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Dal populismo al popolo

Articolo apparso nella rivista Fata Morgana Web 27.01.2020

The English version of the article will be available shortly


Populism (Pablo Compagnucci)

Più di venti anni di idee e riflessioni racchiuse in un libro denso ed attuale. “Io, il popolo” di Nadia Urbinati, nella sua versione italiana del gennaio 2020 – quella inglese pubblicata da Harvard University Press è dell’agosto 2019 – rappresenta il più recente contributo sul populismo, un concetto ancora troppo ambiguo e difficile da determinare. Come un fiume carsico, il populismo scorre sotto traccia per riemergere in periodi di forti incertezze, momenti traumatici e fasi di crisi, nelle forme che conosciamo e con tutta la sua forza dirompente.

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More info about the project (last version 10/03/2020)

The POSTBREXIT Marie Sklodowska Curie Research Project runs from the Department of Politics at the University of Sussex. Currently it is developing an important study on the consequences of Brexit.

The Brexit case is particularly interesting for this research. This project aims to offer a comprehensive analysis of this new phenomenon and its impact on your party politics, enabling a better understanding of its structures, organisation and membership; the key issues and claims that define its agenda; and also how it seeks to challenge UK parties.

To this end, we are particularly keen to include the “voice” of party members in our research.

In particular, in the next weeks, you will receive an invite to complete a short web survey with some questions concerning political activism, participation as well as relevant current affairs. The results of this survey will be of invaluable help to understand the profile, views  and aims of your party’s supporters.

This survey will only take 20 minutes to complete. The participants’ privacy will be fully protected. Indeed, the survey is completely anonymous, and, therefore, no personal data will be disclosed. Furthermore, the information provided will be used solely for this research, and no one else will have access to it.

For this reason, we ask you to send this communication to people potentially interested in this research to inform them that Brexit research is underway and that any help provided will be valuable to understand the importance and impact of this phenomenon.

Participation in the research is voluntary.

Should you have any queries concerning the survey, please do not hesitate to contact us at the e-mail address provided below. Thank you very much.

Informed consent form (last version 10/03/2022)


I, the interviewee, confirm that

  • I have read and understood the Participant Information Sheet.
  • I have had the opportunity to ask any questions about the study and have received satisfactory answers or the additional information I requested.
  • I understand that I may withdraw from the study at any time, and will not be asked for reasons of withdrawal.
  • I understand that this study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Sussex’s Central University Research Ethics Committee.
  • I understand how my interview will be stored, who will have access to my interview, and what will happen to my interview at the end of this study.
  • I understand that the research will be written up as scientific outputs and how personal data from this research will be published and archived.
  • I understand how to raise any concerns or complaints about this study.
  • I understand that sensitive personal data may be collected during this interview. This may include information relating to race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, physical/mental health, trade union membership, sexual life or criminal activities.
  • I understand that, in this project and all future works using this interview, all personal and sensitive data will be anonymised.
  • I consent to participate in this study and recording, and hereby assign to the researcher all copyright in my contribution for use in all work stemming from this project and future projects.

Please note that you may only participate in this web survey internal debate forum if you are 18 years of age and above.

  • I certify that I am over 18 years of age.

Information sheets (last version 10/03/2022)

Please take some time to read this information and ask any further questions if anything is unclear. Contact details can be found at the end of this document.

What is the purpose of the study?

The aim of this research is to investigate the phenomenon of political populism after the Brexit referendum and how intra-party democracy processes can influence the impact of populism.

Who is organising and funding this research?

The research for this study is being undertaken by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action – Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF) at the University of Sussex. This research is funded by the European Commission and has been reviewed and approved by the University of Sussex Research Ethics Committee.

Why have I been asked to participate?

This project aims to interview 500+ members/supporters of political parties.

Do I have to take part?

It is not compulsory to take part in this study, and you may ask the researcher questions or ask for more information before deciding whether or not to participate. However, we believe you have something important to contribute to this study and to further researchers who want to study the effects of populism, so we hope you will contribute.

Please note that you are free to withdraw from the study at any time and will not be asked to give any reasons if you do choose to withdraw.

What will taking part in the study involve?

If you agree to take part in this study, you will complete two web surveys (named WS1 and WS2) roughly two months apart.

Each web survey will likely last between 15 and 20 minutes. You will be able to take breaks throughout the web survey and complete it on multiple occasions.

After the first web survey, you could be asked to participate in a debate on a party forum as well, in order to better analyse some of the issues and understand the general approach to a collective discussion.

All of this is, of course, optional and you may choose what you want to participate in.

Please note that you are free to withdraw from the web surveys and forum debate at any time and will not be asked to give reasons.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

The aim of this project is to create a database of answers from people whose political experiences reflect populist issues in everyday life. The everyday lives and experiences of ordinary members are very important in allowing researchers to understand the populism effect, which is the aim of this project. We hope that you will find it rewarding to have your contributions publicly recognised and to add to a significant collection of web surveys that enable researchers to understand more about populism.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

We hope that the experience of taking part in this study will be enjoyable for you. However, there is the possibility that, as with all research, your opinions may be requested. You will at no point be obliged to answer about any topic that makes you uncomfortable.

How will my web survey be used?

The web survey collected in this study will be used to reveal more about populism. Publications that arise from this project may use quotations from your answer, but in an aggregated way. Once the answers have been stored at the end of the project, future researchers may also wish to use and quote aggregated answers in their work. In all work that is produced using your answers, your name and other personal information will be anonymised.

What happens to the web surveys collected during the study?

Answers will be collected in a database by the researcher for the duration of the project. Only the researcher will have access to the answers and personal information.

What happens at the end of the project?

All participants are able to request a summary of the research findings, should they wish to, by contacting the researcher. The digital online copy of the papers, reports and articles will be published with open access, meaning it will be available to all internet users.

What should I do if I have any concerns or complaints?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this project, please speak to the researcher who will do her best to answer your query. The researcher should acknowledge your concern within seven working days and give you an indication of how she intends to deal with it. If you remain unhappy or wish to make a formal complaint, please contact the chair of the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Sussex who will seek to resolve the matter in a reasonably expeditious manner.