DEMOS Leader Zsolt Boda Says "Populism Challenges Institutions of Liberal Democracies"

Populism is a complex term usually carrying a negative connotation, often associated with leaders who criticize the elite—be it political, academic or scientific—that their citizens view, and react to, with skepticism. Scholars have tried to define the term and label parties and politicians as such, but the H2020 Research and Innovation Action project DEMOS seeks to go beyond that, taking into account both the individual level, psychological roots of populist attitudes and describing the features and consequences of populist governance. In an interview for the Hungarian radio channel Civil Rádió on March 6Zsolt Boda, the leader of DEMOS, spoke about the goals of the project. One of them is to cover populism through multiple manifestations across Europe and beyond, shedding light on its varieties, how populism relates to specific cultural contexts, and how different social actors react to the challenges of populism.

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About our Institute

The primary objective of the Institute for Political Science of MTA Centre for Social Sciences is to conduct basic research in political science. Researchers at the Institute conduct both theoretical and empirical research, and the results are disseminated to both the academic and general public at scientific and professional forums.

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Statement from the Institute of Political Science at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences

Statement from the Institute of Political Science at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences

An article, making false assertions with the potential to mislead the public and damage the reputation of our colleagues and our institute, has been anonymously published in Figyelő weekly magazine on June 19, 2018. The article is about the research taking place at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences and lists seven of the Institute for Political Science’s researchers by name.

The article claims that among the researchers at our institute "many colleagues have not been too active in producing academic articles in recent years". The Figyelő reported these claims without any context and without any prior inquiry into specific details. Most of the seven researchers publicly scorned in the article are early career researchers, many of who have tasks other than publishing. Others began research at the Institute in the fall of 2017, but there are even others who were on long-term unpaid or parental leave and were taking care of their young children. They can hardly publish at same level as their colleagues. The list of researchers targeted by Figyelő even includes the researcher who was possibly the most successful colleague in international publications, which is also apparent from the online Library of Hungarian Academic Work, a public publication database.

We are delighted if the media writes about the Institute of Political Science’s research findings, the publications of its researchers, and even about specific research colleagues. But perhaps it is worthwhile to get in touch with the relevant institution, to become acquainted with the nature of academic research, including both findings and limitations. Of course, research output and its assessment is important and our “parent institution”, the Centre for Social Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (and thereby the Institute of Political Science as well) is among the strictest in this regard (actually a few years ago this was raised as a concern by the media). Related to this, the Institute for Political Science’s performance is outstanding in both research and publications: the Institute’s researchers published a total of 143 publications in 2017, of which 38 were in foreign languages, and made 40 Hungarian conference presentations and 70 international conference presentations. For those who are interested, there is information about our major research projects and publications on the Institute for Political Science’s website.