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“Measuring Populist Discourse: The Global Populism Database” by Bruno Castanho Silva of the University of Cologne

 Dr. Bruno Castanho Silva “Measuring Populist Discourse: The Global Populism Database”(July 8)

On July 8 the Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy of the Top Global University Project, in collaboration with the Waseda Institute of Political Economy (WINPEC), the Public Opinion Methodology Research Group (headed by Airo Hino) and the Waseda Institute of Social Media Data (WISDOM), hosted seminar by Bruno Castanho Silva of the University of Cologne in Germany. Castanho Silva, a rising star in the field of populism research, gave a presentation titled, “Measuring Populist Discourse: The Global Populism Database.

During the seminar, Castanho Silva introduced the fundamental elements of populism that have emerged from recent academic discourse – people-centrism, anti-establishment sentiment and a Manichean outlook on politics. Based on these elements, he introduced a methodology through which the level of populism of political leaders can be measured, and introduced the Global Populism Database (GPD), an open resource based on applying this content analysis methodology to leaders in 66 countries around the world. Using the measurements contained in the GPD, Castanho Silva showed how variables including political corruption, poverty and inequality, media freedom, and the degree of checks and balances present in a political system are correlated to the level of populism of political leaders.The seminar featured a lively discussion, covering topics ranging from the relationship between populism and ideology and the differences between levels of populism in presidential and parliamentary systems, to the selection process for leaders’ speeches, procedures for ensuring the reliability of content analysis and the relationship between the observed data on political leaders and individual-level polling data. This seminar became a very meaningful opportunity for scholars to learn about the usefulness of the Global Populism Database and the potential for its future expansion.


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