Illiberal Democrats (EES2019)

Research question/goal: 

This project focuses on the origins and consequences of the rise of ‘illiberal democrats’: citizens with an allegiance to the abstract notion of democracy, who simultaneously reject many key norms, institutions, and behaviours that have traditionally been regarded as necessary ingredients of liberal democracy, which are also known as the ‘constitutional pillar’ of democracy. The constitutional pillar comprises constitutional checks and balances, political equality, freedom of expression, and judicial protection of individual and minority rights. All of these are not only at the heart of liberal democracies, but they also constitute the core principles on which the European Union was founded. Rising support of illiberal democratic values, along with the rise of support for populist parties, is therefore likely to undermine support for the EU. In this project, we examine the antecedents and consequences of illiberal democratic attitudes, and the link between such attitudes, party platforms, patterns of (social) media consumption, electoral behaviour, and support for the EU.

The aim of ILLDEM is to fill this gap in the literature, by examining on the antecedents, dimensions, and consequences of illiberal democratic attitudes for the future of European democracies and European integration. Specifically, ILLDEM focuses on answering four research questions:

  1. What are the patterns and predictors of support for different components of liberal democracy across European countries?
  2. What is the role of (social) media in providing a forum for contents relating to illiberal attitudes
  3. What are the mechanisms which translate illiberal democratic attitudes into electoral support for populist parties?
  4. What are the implications of the increasing support for illiberal democratic parties for the support for European integration?

Fact sheet

Funding: 
MZES
Duration: 
2018 to 2021
Status: 
in preparation
Data Sources: 
nationally representative cross-sectional surveys, party manifesto content analyses, and social media communication
Geographic Space: 
EU

Publications