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Brexit and Populism in Europe


Admission requirements

Registration for the Minor European Union Studies or admission to the pre-master European Union Studies.


For many, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) is a ‘populist moment’ and indicative of the end of politics as we know it. Populist movements, it seems, are ever more vocal in Europe, while mainstream parties and their ideas are increasingly sidelined. This has called into question not simply the stability and shape of European nations, but of the EU and the broader process of European integration. Yet the definitions of populism are hotly debated, as are its drivers. Populism might even be regarded as a corrective to, or integral part of, a democracy where a good many people are dissatisfied with current political choices and feel culturally or economically ‘left behind’. The aim of this elective is consequently to:

  • conceptualise what we mean by populism and understand its drivers at a political and societal level;

  • contextualise the current populist 'wave' by placing events against a broader historical backdrop;

  • question whether populism is a threat or a ‘wake-up call’ for the renewal of democracy; and

  • analysis populism comparatively to understand the vast range of different populist movements, parties and personalities.

Course objectives

  • To provide students with greater understanding and knowledge of the meaning of populism and Euroscepticism and its impact on the European integration process.

  • To provide students with insight into the challenges that the EU is facing in this respect.

  • To develop students’ skills in respect of research, writing, presentation and debate.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


The final mark is based upon a combination of the following elements:
active participation in the course and class discussion - 20%
group presentation - 20%
research paper - 60%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The research paper will only be marked if the student has attended the lectures and seminars and have failed the course.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A syllabus will be provided one week before the start of the course.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Not applicable.