New ProDem Publication

ProDem researchers Matthias Hoffmann and Christina Neumayer have published a new article titled “Movement Parties’ Interactions on Social Media: Positioning and Trajectories in the Polity Arena” in the Journal of Information, Technology & Politics. In it, they report a longitudinal analysis (2010–2021) based on data from eighteen parties’ official social media accounts in six European countries. As the authors explain, “conceptually bridging cycles of contention, social movement lifecycles, and party lifespans, this research identifies regularities in referencing patterns between traditional party families; and by adding a temporal layer, outlines three trajectories of movement parties in the polity arena. The results contribute to conceptualizing movement parties as hybrid organizations and suggest a common logic of movement in positioning in the polity arena as drivers of party-to-party interactions moderated by country-specific contextual factors”.

The article can be accessed here:

The ‘Visual Turn’ in Protests and Social Movement Studies: Reimagining ‘the People’ in Romania’s 2017 Pro-Democracy Protests

Video conference paper by Dana S. Trif

‘Democracy’ is often researched in political science as a particular form of political organization. But the word itself has become more of a ‘floating signifier’, with the ability to conjure a certain social imaginary. This imaginary relies however more on visual than textual narratives. My paper analyzes the visual discourse emerging during the 2017 anti-corruption protests in Romania, the largest since the country’s transition to democracy in 1989. The slogans and visual artifacts the protesters used are primary data for a paper asking how hegemonic reconfigurations of meaning blend with a new visual discursive reconstruction of the ‘people’.

Visionlinguistics: Panoramas of Languaging and visuality, DN29 DiscourseNet & The Open University, 13-15 September 2023

ProDem – organized and moderated Roundtable with Civil Society Stakeholders, Activism Conference, 4-5 May 2023, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca

From left to right: Felipe G. Santos, Dan Mercea, Luminita Dejeu (Declic), Ruth Borgfjord (Queer Sisterhood and Pride Cluj), and Istvan Szakats (AltArt Cluj). Discussion moderated by Dana S. Trif

Threats to ‘democratic quality’ (PRODEM) continue to emerge every day. However, the visibility of the nongovernmental sector and civic activism has also increased at local and national levels. Considering the heterogeneity of claims and areas of activity of different members of Romanian civil society, this panel brought together relevant civic actors with a broad range of interests. By drawing on their rich history of activism, participants were asked to reflect upon topics such as effective actions for civic engagements, countering illiberal trends, and promoting democracy.

Discussing Laclau on the DiscourseNet ‘Critically Linked’ Podcast with hosts Dana S. Trif and Jaspal N. Singh

Almost 40 years after the publication of his book (with Chantal Mouffe) – ‘Hegemony and socialist strategy: Towards a radical democratic politics’ (1985) – what can Laclau’s philosophy still teach us? Hosts Dana S. Trif and Jaspal N. Singh discuss Laclau’s concepts such as ‘hegemony’, ‘antagonism’, ‘the logic of difference’, and ‘the logic of equivalence’ on this new episode of ‘Critically Linked: How Books of the Past Shape our Futures’ together with Eva Herschinger (München) and Thomas Jacobs (Brussels). We unravel these and ask many more questions: What is antagonism? How is it related to identity? Are we doomed to antagonize each other? Link: 

ProDem Stakeholder Conference at the European Parliament (Brussels, 30 Nov. 2022)

The ProDem team travelled to Brussels to for its first stakeholder meeting at the European Parliament and the launch of our research report ‘Strengthening Democracy in Europe: How movement parties, social movements and active citizens are reshaping Europe’ . The meeting with European politcians, representatives of civil society and community organisations was the inaugural event for the ProDem stakeholder network, a platform we are building to enable the open exchange of ideas for how to ensure the project’s results are carried over into practice and future research. The plurality of voices at the meeting allowed for a robust discussion on topics central to ProDem, including a critical conversation about key project findings and policy recommendations, all geared towards the shared goal to improve democratic quality in Europe, the European Union and its member states.

The cross-group event, which was also streamed online, was funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung and hosted at the European Parliament by Nicu Ștefănuță (MEP, Renew Europe) with the support of EP Vice-President Katarina Barley (S&D), Dacian Cioloș (MEP, Renew Europe), Daniel Freund (MEP, Greens/EFA), and the input of our partner NGOs including Alliance4Europe (Brussels), Edgeryders (Brussels), The Democratic Society (Brussels), Helsinki Committee Hungary (HU), BiPart (IT), declic (RO), Femei in Politica (RO), Unlock Democracy (UK).

Special thanks to Volkswagen Stiftung for the financial support, and to all attendees for contributing towards such a generative event. We will continue to build on these ideas, expand and strengthen links, and meet again in the next year to create actionable moves forward together. 

New ProDem Publication

ProDem researchers Matthias Hoffmann, Felipe G. Santos, Christina Neumayer, and Dan Mercea have published the article “Lifting the Veil on the Use of Big Data News Repositories: A Documentation and Critical Discussion of A Protest Event Analysis” in Communication Methods and Measures. In it, they engage with big data repositories and critically discuss the usage of big data, its implications and invisibilities for social science research in general, and protest research in particular.

The article is published open access and can be viewed here: “

A commentary on the Hungarian elections for “Adevărul” based on ProDem Survey results

Dana S. Trif, Felipe Gonzales Santos and Dan Mercea were interviewed by Romanian newspaper “Adevărul” on the results of the Hungarian elections.

Cum l-a „ajutat” războiul din Ucraina pe Viktor Orban să câştige alegerile: „«Pacea» cu Rusia lui Putin, preferată de maghiari”