Raising the Stakes: Issue Linkages, Social Movements, and Populism


Recent crises in Europe have led to massive domestic political conflict and mobilization. From a cleavage perspective, it is important that the various contested issues, such as European integration and immigration, have not been articulated in isolation. By contrast, political actors have linked them to one another and often to a broader—usually populist—criticism of representative democracy.

The project takes such issue linkages as its starting point and asks the following questions: How do challengers link issues? What are the consequences of different types of issue linkages for politicization in public debates and for the capacity to mobilize support? The research design combines (i) a comparative study of contentious episodes with (ii) focused experimental surveys. The former develops tools to measure issue linkages and their effects on public debates, the latter allow to link the supply of issue linkages with individual-level responses.

The first data collections focused on mobilization related to peace and energy issues after the onset of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.