Progetto di Ricerca PRIN 2015

Personalization, Institutionalization and Deinstitutionalization: the new power dynamics

The project is financed by the Italian MIUR (PRIN 2015 – 40102915 – Prof. Ruzza. - CUP E62F15000470005). The goal of the research project is to examine the political-sociological aspects of populist and anti-populist parties and groups in Europe. The research focuses on the analysis of empirical and theoretical aspects of the populist phenomenon in recent years. Activities delve into the discursive aspects of populism and anti-populism, and focus in particular on European institutions and civil society organisations.

Leading team

Carlo Ruzza

Post-doc fellows

Carlo Berti, Paolo Cossarini

Public events and Seminars


  • 2-3.12.2019, “The impact of populism on European institutions and civil society. Discourses, practices, and policies”, International Research Workshop, SIS, University of Trento
  • 3-4.10.2019. Berti C., Cossarini, P., “Heroes and Villains: Personalization, Character Assassination, and Political Delegitimization in Matteo Salvini's use of social media”. Paper presented at the conference “La lezione weberiana sulla professione politica e i suoi insegnamenti per l’attualità”, University of Salerno.
  • 12-14.9.2019 Cossarini, P. “Cultural and visual aspects of populism: the cases of Catalonia and Brexit Britain compared”. Paper presented at SISP Annual Conference 2019, University of Salento.
  • 11-12.4.2019. Ruzza, C. Invited Roundtable Participant at the Civil Society Elites Workshop, University of Lund.
  • 7.2.2019. Ruzza, C. ‘The Impact of Populist Parties on EU Institutions and Civil Society Organizations’. Invited talk at Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam.
  • 21.1.2019 Ruzza, C. ‘Populism, migration and xenophobia in Europe’, nvited Keynote Speaker at Workshop ‘Global populism and the post-representative politics. Is democracy unsustainable?’ LUISS University.


  • 2-3.11.2018. Ruzza, C., Mazzoleni, O. “Institutionalizing Populism”. Paper presented at the interim conference of ESA network on Political Sociology.
  • 15.6.2018 Rizza, C. “EU Institutions and Populism”. Paper presented at the ECPR Standing Group on the European Union, Paris.
  • 6-7.12.2018 Ruzza, C. Invited Keynote Speaker at the International Symposium ‘Un-Civility, Racism and Populism:  Interactive Practices and Discourses in Europe, USA & Beyond’, Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism, Uppsala University.
  • 8-9.11.2018 Ruzza, C. ‘Populism and the European Parliament’, Invited talk at the workshop "Domestic Politics and Global Economics: From Policy Convergence to the Rise of Populism", University of Florence.
  • 26-28.9.2018, Ruzza, C. Invited speaker at the workshop ‘El populismo. Teoría y experiencias contemporáneas’ University of Guadalajara.
  • 20-21.9.2018 Ruzza, C. ‘Political Reactions to European Populisms’, invited Keynote speech at the Italian Political Sociology Standing Group of the Italian Sociological Associations, Rome.


  • 4-6.5.2017 Ruzza, C., Mazzoleni, O. “How do parties combine regionalist and nationalist Euroscepticism? The cases of the Italian Lega Nord and the Swiss Lega dei Ticinesi”, Paper presented at the EUSA Fifteenth Biennial Conference, Miami Florida.
  • 12-14.7.2017 Ruzza, C. ‘European Populism: moving beyond the radical right?’ Paper presented at the Council for European Studies Conference, Glasgow.
  • 8.3.2017 Ruzza, C. “European populisms: Demand-side, supply-side and contextual explanations”, Paper presented at Wentworth College, University of York.


  • 7-8.4.2016 Ruzza, C., Demidov, A., Sanchez, R. ‘Workshop Conclusion and Discussion’. Round table at the European Civil Society beyond Brussels Conference.
  • 30.9.2016 Ruzza, C., Mazzoleni, O. “Regionalist Parties and the National Interest”. Paper presented at the International Workshop on Populism, Regionalism and Nationalism in Western European Party Mobilisation-The territorial Dimension, University of Lausanne.


  • 7-10.9.2015 Ruzza, C. “Associational representation at EU level and the legitimacy deficit in the left-liberal social movement sector”. Paper presented at the ECPR General Conference.
  • 28.8.2015 Ruzza, C., Mazzoleni, O. “Institutionalisation and Charisma in the Ticino League”. Paper presented at the European Sociological Association Conference, Prague.




  • Pejovic, M., Cossarini, P. (forthcoming). “CSOs seen through the optic of the European Commission: has the Commission’s perspective changed following the refugee crisis and the populist turn?”. Journal of European Politics & Society
  • Cossarini, P. (forthcoming). "Banal populism: nationalism and emotions in the Spanish/Catalan clash" in García Agustín, Ó., and Raftopoulos, M. (eds). Nations at Stake. The Catalan March for Independence. Palgrave: London.
  • Ruzza, C. (forthcoming) Civil Society between Populism and Anti-Populism. In Norocel, O.V., Hellstrom, A., Bak Jorgensen, M. (Eds), Nostalgia and Hope: Intersections between Politics of Culture, Welfare, and Migration. New York. Springer, Imiscoe.


  • Berti, C., Bratu, R., Wickberg, S. (2020). Corruption and The Media. In Mungiu-Pippidi, A., Heywood, P. (Eds.), A Research Agenda for Studies of Corruption. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


  • Mazzoleni, O., Ruzza, C. (2019) Claiming regionalism and nationalism at the same time: How the Italian and Swiss Leagues can engage in contradictory claims and get away with it. In Heinisch, R., Massetti, E., Mazzoleni, O. (Eds), The People and the Nation: Populism and Ethno-Territorial Politics in Europe. London, Routledge.
  • Antoniolli, L., Bonatti, L., Ruzza, C., Eds. (2019). Highs and Lows of European Integration - Sixty Years after the Treaty of Rome. New York, Springer
  • Ruzza, C., Pejovic, M., (2019) ‘Populism at Work: the language of the Brexiteers’ Special Issue ‘Brexit’ in Media & Political Discourses: From National Populist Imaginary to Cross-National Social & Political Crisis; Critical Discourse Studies.
  • Cossarini, P. and Vallespín, F. (eds.) (2019) Populism and passions: democratic legitimacy after austerity. New York-London: Routledge


  • Mazzoleni, O., & Ruzza, C. (2018). Combining Regionalism and Nationalism: the Lega in Italy and the Lega dei Ticinesi in Switzerland. Comparative European Politics
  • Ruzza, C. (2018). Preface. In: Meeuwisse, A. & Scaramuzzino, R. (eds.) Europeanization in Sweden: Opportunities and Challenges for Civil Society Organizations. Berghahn Books.
  •  Ruzza, C., (2018) The Radical Right in Southern Europe, in J. Rydgren (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right, Oxford University Press, Oxford


  • Ruzza, C.; Loner, E. (2017) "Aspetti demografici ed ideologici del populismo in Europa" in SOCIETÀ MUTAMENTO POLITICA, n. 8.15, p. 305-326
  • Ruzza C (2017) Populism, Migration and Xenophobia in Europe. In: de la Torre C (ed) Handbook on Global Populism. Routledge, London
  • Ruzza, C. (2017) Social Movements and Italian Civil Society in Times of Crisis, in A. Grasse, M. Grimm and J. Labitzke (eds.), Italien zwischen Krise  und Aufbruch, Springer
  • Ruzza C (2017) Populism and Political Movements. In: Holtz-Bacha C, Mazzoleni O, Heinisch R (eds) Handbook on Political Populism. Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden.
  • Ruzza, C. (2017) Prefazione. Anselmi, M., Populismo. Milano: Mondadori.


  • Ruzza, C. (2016) “I Partiti Populisti nell’ Europa del Sud e la Crisi Finanziaria del 2008 e degli anni successivi: successo, insuccesso e innovazione in prospettiva comparata” Sociologia, n.1,


  • Trenz, H.-J., C. Ruzza, V. Guiraudon (eds.) (2015) Europe’s prolonged crisis: The making or the unmaking of a political Union. London, Palgrave.
  • Ruzza, C. (2015) Changes in the Field of EU Civil Society Organisations: Institutionalisation, Differentiation and Challengers. Kalm, S., Johansson, H. (Eds) EU Civil Society, pp. 23-43.

Related outcomes

  • Cossarini, P., Berti, C. “Salvini y la ‘selfi-política’: ¿Un arma de doble filo?”, The Conversation, 13 June 2019
  • Cossarini, P., “The Passions of Populist Politics”, Open Democracy, 8 September 2019
  • Paolo Cossarini – ATENEO Starting Grant for young researchers 2019/2020