The Trento Unit will first focus on European public opinion data in order to provide a typology of the main reactions of the European population that does not share populist values. Subsequently, the Unit will focus on the EU level and examine reactions by political, bureaucratic and civil society actors. Specifically, at the EU level, the Unit will document how Italian populist formations impact EU institutions and how EU actors react to their positions. Furthermore, the Trento Unit will examine reactions by civil society actors, particularly those that are more likely to be targeted and discredited by populist formations. Thus, particular attention will be devoted to the discursive interactions between the Italian level and the EU level. Hence, in this study three different approaches will be utilised: (a) a study of opponents of populism, who will be identified through an analysis of EU-wide public opinion data; (b) a study of the discursive interaction between populists and non-populists at EU level; (c) a conceptual analysis of populists' argumentations and reactions by non-populist opponents in view of their contrasting conceptions of democracy.

Research Team

  • Carlo Ruzza (Coordinator) (School of International Studies, University of Trento)
  • Carlo Berti (Post-doc Fellow) (School of International Studies, University of Trento)

Other research units involved in the Project:

  • Antonietta Cammarota (University of Messina)
  • Lucio D'Alessandro (University Suor Orsola Benincasa Naples)
  •  Flaminia Saccà (University of Tuscia, Viterbo)


Italian Ministry of University and Research - Call PRIN 2017 – CUP E64I19003110005 "Populism and Anti-Populism in EU Institutions".


Berti, C. (forthcoming). Right-wing Populism and the Criminalization of Sea-rescue NGOs: The "Sea-Watch 3" Case in Italy, and Matteo Salvini's Communication on Facebook. Media, Culture & Society.