NovaMigra Webinars

All webinars start at 4 pm (CET)

Causal relations are notoriously hard to establish in the social sciences. Little wonder then that the urgent social-political issue of populism versus migration is so resistant to easy explanations. Is there a direct causal link between migration and the recent rise of right-wing populism? If so, is there a similarly uncomplicated explanation for the rise of left-wing populism in the US and in Europe?

Populism is seen by many as a threat to the health and stability of liberal democracy. Others, however, look at it as a direct and unrefined but legitimate expression of long-suppressed popular sentiments, and even as a democratic revolt of the masses against liberal ideals.
The latter view populism as a movement and connect it with the idea of anti-intellectualism. Perhaps they are right, but this still leaves open many questions: Can anti-intellectualism be tied to left-wing populism only, or also to its right-wing counterpart? If populism is indeed a movement, is it organized by politicians from above, or by the people (the populus) from below? If it’s a grassroots movement, then how could it present any threat to democracy?

Webinar dates, titles and presenters

29 January 2020 16:00 (CET)

Matter over Mind - Populism: an appeal to numbers with János Salamon

According to a long philosophical, Socratic tradition critical of democracy the rule of the many is in fact the rule of quantity over quality, of passions over reason, of matter over mind. In this talk the presenter wants to explore the relationship between antiintellectual, anti-elite populism and democracy. In his investigation he intends to pay special attention to two related paradoxes.

5 February 2020 16:00 (CET)

What is populism? with Éva Gedő

The starting point of the lecture is that contemporary populist politics is characterized by a tendency to undisguised lying. Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as its 2015 Word of the Year. The concept of post-truth has been around for the past decade, but Oxford Dictionaries has witnessed a surge in usage in the year 2016 in the context of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. The idea of post-truth has also become a collocation of a particular noun, in the phrase post-truth politics. In the webinar presentation, it is attempted to create a new kind of so-called”methodological individualist” position for the criticism of populism. The problem of populism is approached through the question of its relation to liberalism. The basis of the methodological individualist criticism of populism will be the problem of subjective decision, where treachery as a philosophical problem comes to the fore, and populism is approached through the question of the decision that justifies life-lies.

12 February 2020 16:00 (CET)

Relationship between migration and populism. A Comparative analysis of France and Germany with Eva Gedő and Éva Szénási

The two lectures following one another attempt to present and compare the policies of two right-wing populist parties in Western Europe the Front National and the AfD. The webinar gives emphasis to the analysis of the causes of the recent success of both parties. In this context, the webinar gives a brief overview of the histories of both right-wing radical parties and their current policies, the changes in their image, political language and themes. The comparison is interesting since the two parties, though keep their distances, have similar views on several issues, such as migration. Both parties describe national identity as under threat both from European integration and from the presence and accommodation of immigrants and refugees within the respective countries.

19 February 2020 16:00 (CET)

Migration and xenophobia with Endre Sík

This webinar explores how the Hungarian government framed the migration discourse and how the Fidesz-KDNP party coalition instrumentalised the refugee crisis as a „moral panic” button to increase the popularity of the government after its popularity decline 2014. The paper shows different anti-refugee governmental strategies of 2015 and 2016 such as the national consultation, the billboard, media and the referendum campaigns and analyses their impact on the xenophobic attitudes in the Hungarian society.

26 February 2020 16:00 (CET)

The rise of anti-migrant populism. The global context with Attila Melegh

The history of the population and migration policy and the radicalization of demographic nationalism can be understood as evolving within the era of globalization out of an interplay between demographic challenges and labor market challenges on a global, European and local level. On all these levels there are key factors operating due to neoliberal institutions, most importantly the freedom of capital to move and
overrule and subordinate local social arrangements. This webinar looks at Hungary as an example.


János Salamon

János Salamon is professor of philosophy at McDaniel College, Budapest, a former associate professor of philosophy at
Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design Budapest. He taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, at St.
Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey and at the diplomat school of the Foreign Service Institute, State Department,
Washington D.C. His books include A magány metafizikai struktúrája (The Metaphysical Structure of Solitude), Budapest:
Attraktor, 2003 and A szív arisztokratikus szokásai (The Aristocratic Habits of the Heart), Budapest: Kalligram, 2016

Éva Gedő

Eva Gedő is an associate professor at the John Wesley Theological College. She wrote her PhD thesis in philosophy at ELTE
University Budapest in 2006. Her thesis topic was the philosophical analysis of the decisionist political theory of Carl Schmitt.
Her main research areas include German historicism, the political philosophy of the Conservative Revolution in the Weimar
Republic, populism as political philosophy, theories on fascism. She taught for 12 years at the University of Miskolc, Faculty of
Arts, now

Éva Szénási

Éva Szénási is professor emeritus at the Faculty of Education at the University of Szeged. Her fields of study are the history of
French political ideas and the analysis of some theoretical questions related to the European integration. Her publications are
primarily based on these topics. Her latest study ‒ to be published in the History of contemporary France ‒ is a deep dive into
the history of French radical parties. She is also a translator from French. Between 1993 and 1994, she worked as a visiting
professor at the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Lausanne. In 2000, she gave lectures at the Institut of
Political Studies of Paris in the frame of the doctoral school studying post-communist countries. She is an editor of the
Varietas Europaea book series at L’Harmattan-Hungary publishing house.

Endre Sík

Endre Sík is external researcher at the Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest, Institute for Sociology, and professor emeritus at ELTE,
Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Minority Studies, Budapest. His teaching experience include: 2003 – EU identity –
Tomsk State University, Tomsk, 2005, 2006 – Sociology of Migration EIUC, Venice, 1996 – Second Economy in PostCommunism, CEU, Prague, 1994 –
The Sociology of the Informal Economy, Notre Dame University, and 1990 – Sociology of organisation, University of Toronto.
He has been a fellow of several research centres across Europe and a recipient of several research grants.

Attila Melegh

Attila Melegh is senior researcher at the Demographic Research Institute, Central Statistical Office. Budapest, and associate
professor at the Institute of Sociology and Social Policy, Corvinus University, Budapest, as well as professor at Tomori Pál
College, Kalocsa. He is a recipient of several Academic Honors, Professorships and Awards. His books include: On the
East/West Slope. Globalization, Nationalism, Racism and Discourses on Central and Eastern Europe. New York-Budapest, CEU
Press, 2006.

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