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Neo-authoritarianisms in Europe and the liberal democratic response (AUTHLIB)

Duration
October, 2022 - September, 2025
Funding
EU Horizon Europe / UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Lead researchers
Researchers
Project managers
Research areas

To protect the future of liberal democracy in Europe, we must first understand its challengers. AUTHLIB is a multidisciplinary project that aims to explore the varieties of neo-authoritarian, illiberal ideologies in Europe, their social, psychological and historical causes,their organizational background and their political implications. The study aims to capture the dynamics of ideological change in the European Union as a whole, but it will particularly focus on Poland, France, Italy, Hungary, Czechia, the United Kingdom and Austria.We will map ideological configurations by analyzing textual data and social media, and by organizing surveys of citizens and experts. The mapping of ideological structures will be complemented by a study of emotional triggers and rhetorical strategies pursued by illiberal actors. The contemporary ideological configurations of illiberalism will be embedded within their historical-cultural context, and the study of ideas and preferences will be supplemented by investigation of illiberalism in power, and the co-operation of illiberal political actors. To develop interventions that effectively target these new challenges, AUTHLIB will define the normative limits for actions that democracies may take in their own defence. In order to identify the mechanisms behind the support of illiberalism, and the susceptibility of citizens towards changing their attitudes, we will conduct laboratory and online panel-based survey experiments. Finally, in order to observe how ideological and emotional stimuli work in co-operative settings, we will set up deliberative fora, involving both ordinary citizens, ideological opponents, and individuals responsible for educating future generations and operating the intricate procedures of liberal democracy. The research will provide policy-makers with a comprehensive toolbox to improve support for liberal democracy.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or UK Research and Innovation. Neither the European Union nor the UK Research and Innovation can be held responsible for them.