The COVID-19 emergency has shown with great clarity that the social construction of science can be a highly contentious process which generates debates and disputes related to the social, political, and economic implications of science. Globally, and especially in Europe, a broad range of right-wing populist forces have attempted to exploit the pandemic emergency to gain momentum and increase consensus while national and supranational institutions were trying to cope with the consequences of the new virus. The European institutions have played a fundamental role in the management of the COVID-19 emergency. However, right-wing populist forces in the European Parliament (EP) often exploited the pandemic to construct Eurosceptic discourses, and in particular to attack the European Commission. Adopting the framework of political opportunity theory, we explore how right-wing populists have discursively constructed the COVID-19 emergency in the European Parliament. Drawing on a database of speeches delivered and debates held in the European Parliament during the first year of the pandemic, we show how populists often adopted an ambiguous position on COVID-19 and related issues such as vaccination, emergency measures, and health policies. This ambiguity, however, shows that the real aim of most right-wing populist forces in the EP was not to debate the pandemic itself, but to exploit it to pursue Euroscepticism and delegitimize the EU, and in particular the Commission.

Populism, Science and Covid-19 as a Political Opportunity: The Case of the European Parliament / Berti, Carlo; Ruzza, Carlo. - (2022), pp. 91-115.

Populism, Science and Covid-19 as a Political Opportunity: The Case of the European Parliament

Berti, Carlo;Ruzza, Carlo
2022

Abstract

The COVID-19 emergency has shown with great clarity that the social construction of science can be a highly contentious process which generates debates and disputes related to the social, political, and economic implications of science. Globally, and especially in Europe, a broad range of right-wing populist forces have attempted to exploit the pandemic emergency to gain momentum and increase consensus while national and supranational institutions were trying to cope with the consequences of the new virus. The European institutions have played a fundamental role in the management of the COVID-19 emergency. However, right-wing populist forces in the European Parliament (EP) often exploited the pandemic to construct Eurosceptic discourses, and in particular to attack the European Commission. Adopting the framework of political opportunity theory, we explore how right-wing populists have discursively constructed the COVID-19 emergency in the European Parliament. Drawing on a database of speeches delivered and debates held in the European Parliament during the first year of the pandemic, we show how populists often adopted an ambiguous position on COVID-19 and related issues such as vaccination, emergency measures, and health policies. This ambiguity, however, shows that the real aim of most right-wing populist forces in the EP was not to debate the pandemic itself, but to exploit it to pursue Euroscepticism and delegitimize the EU, and in particular the Commission.
Populism and Science in Europe
London
Palgrave Macmillan
Berti, Carlo; Ruzza, Carlo
Populism, Science and Covid-19 as a Political Opportunity: The Case of the European Parliament / Berti, Carlo; Ruzza, Carlo. - (2022), pp. 91-115.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11572/349921
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