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CAS Discussion Series: Populism/s East and West: an Empirical and Theoretical Comparison

The next seminar of the CAS Discussion Series “Policies of the Rule of Law” took place on 17 January 2020 (Friday) at the Centre for Advanced Study with a lecture by Prof. Emilia Zankinka.

The lecture examines the rise of populist parties East and West and the theorizations on populism. The lecture forwards a novel theoretical approach based on transaction-cost economics. It argues that populism can be viewed as a political strategy populism is a political strategy utilized by populist parties to reduce the transaction costs of politics by increasing the use of informal political institutions, which have an association with direct and immediate action, and decreasing the use of formal political institutions, which have connotations of slow or non-action. It further argues that populist parties create a democratic and institutional deficit and contribute to a shift from representative to procedural democracy.

Emilia Zankina is an Associate Professor in Political Science. She holds a Ph.D. in International Affairs and a Certificate in Advanced East European Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research examines democratization and elite transformation in Eastern Europe, populism, civil service reform, and gender political representation. She has published in reputable journals and presses such as West European Politics, Politics and Gender, East European Politics, Problems of Post-communism, Representation, ECPR Press, Indiana Press, and more. In the past, Zankina has served as Associate Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Managing Editor of East European Politics and Societies, and Editor-in-Chief of the Newsletter of the Bulgarian Studies Association. She is the recipient of a number of U.S. national grants from IREX, ACLS, American Councils, Wilson Center, and more.