School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Stijn van Kessel, BSc & MSc (VU Amsterdam), DPhil (Sussex)


Lecturer in European Politics

Telephone: 020 7882 2164
Room Number: Arts One, Room 2.31
Office Hours: Monday 2-3pm & TWednesday 4-5pm


Dr Stijn van Kessel joined Queen Mary in September 2017. Previously, he was Lecturer in Politics at Loughborough University (2012-2017). Between October 2013 and September 2015 he was based at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany, to carry out a postdoctoral research project funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He also held visiting teaching positions in the Netherlands at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the VU University Amsterdam (2011-2012).

Stijn completed a BSc (2005) and MSc (2006) in Political Science at the VU University Amsterdam, and defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Sussex in 2011.

Stijn’s main research interests are populism, Euroscepticism, and the ideology, voters, members and electoral performance of populist parties in Europe, with a particular emphasis on the radical right. More general interests include elections, party competition, party system change in Europe, and related questions of democratic legitimacy.

Stijn is joint convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy, and joint editor of the journal Politics.

You can follow him on Twitter @StijnTvanKessel


Research Interests:

Stijn’s main research interests are populism, Euroscepticism, and the ideology, voters, members and electoral performance of populist parties in Europe, with a particular emphasis on the radical right. More general interests include elections, party competition, party system change in Europe, and related questions of democratic legitimacy.

Examples of research funding:

Together with Dr Daniele Albertazzi (Principal Investigator) and Prof. Scott Lucas, Stijn was awarded an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Grant (ES/R011540/1; £896,821) for the project ‘The survival of the mass party: Evaluating activism and participation among populist radical right parties in Europe’. This project will commence in the summer of 2019.

Stijn is currently co-investigator in the project ‘28+ perspectives on Brexit: a guide to the multi-stakeholder negotiations’ with Prof. Helen Drake (Principal Investigator), Dr Elena Georgiadou, Dr Borja Garcia Garcia and Dr Nicola Chelotti. The project is funded through an ESRC Brexit Priority Grant (ES/R001847/1; £298,339) and runs until April 2019.

Stijn was previously awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers, supporting two years of research at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany (between October 2013 and September 2015).



  • S. van Kessel (2015) Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent?, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Special issue (guest-edited)

  • A. Pirro, P. Taggart and S. van Kessel (eds.) (2018) The Populist Politics of Euroscepticism in Times of Crisis, Politics, 38 (3), 253-390.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • A. Pirro, P. Taggart and S. van Kessel (2018) ‘The populist politics of Euroscepticism in times of crisis: Comparative conclusions’, Politics, 38 (3), 378-390.
  • A. Pirro and S. van Kessel (2018) ‘Populist Eurosceptic Trajectories in Italy and the Netherlands during the European crises’, Politics, 38 (3), 327-343.
  • S. Van Hauwaert and S. van Kessel (2018) ‘Beyond protest and discontent. A cross-national analysis of the effect of populist attitudes and issue positions on populist party support’, European Journal of Political Research, 57 (1), 68-92.
  • A. Pirro and S. van Kessel (2017) ‘United in opposition? The populist radical right’s EU-pessimism in times of crisis’, Journal of European Integration, 39 (4), 405-420.
  • S. van Kessel and R. Castelein (2016) ‘Shifting the blame. Populist politicians’ use of Twitter as a tool of opposition’, Journal of Contemporary European Research, 12 (2), 594-614.
  • S. van Kessel (2014) ‘The populist cat-dog. Applying the concept of populism to contemporary European party systems’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 19 (1), 99–118.
  • S. van Kessel (2013) ‘A matter of supply and demand: the electoral performance of populist parties in three European countries’, Government and Opposition, 48 (2), 175-199.
  • S. van Kessel (2011) ‘Explaining the electoral performance of populist parties: the Netherlands as a case study’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 12 (1), 68-88.
  • T. Bale, S. van Kessel and P. Taggart (2011) 'Thrown around with abandon? Popular understandings of populism as conveyed by the print media: a UK case study', Acta Politica, 46 (2), 111-131.

Book chapters

  • K. Abts, T. Kochuyt and S. van Kessel (2019) ‘Populism in Belgium: the mobilization of the body anti-politic’, in: K. Hawkins et al. (eds.) The Ideational Approach to Populism. Concept, Theory, and Analysis, Oxon: Routledge.
  • S. van Kessel (2016) ‘Using faith to exclude: The role of religion in Dutch populism’, in: N. Marzouki, D. McDonnell and O. Roy (eds.) Saving the People: How Populists Hijack Religion, Oxford University Press (USA) / Hurst (UK), 61-77.
  • S. van Kessel (2016) ‘Like a Hurricane? The ‘winds of populism’ in contemporary Europe’, in: M. Morlok, T. Poguntke and G. Zons (eds.) Etablierungschancen neuer Parteien, Schriften zum Parteienrecht und zur Parteienforschung, Band 51, Baden-Baden: Nomos,145-162.
  • S. van Kessel (2016) ‘No one-trick ponies: the multifaceted appeal of the populist radical right’, in: M. Fielitz and L. Laloire (eds.) Trouble on the Far Right. Contemporary Right-Wing Strategies and Practices in Europe, Bielefeld: Transcript, 37-42.
  • S. van Kessel (2015) ‘Right-wing populism in contemporary Dutch politics’, in: F. Decker, B. Henningsen and K. Jakobsen (eds.) Rechtspopulismus und Rechtsextremismus in Europa. Die Herausforderung der Zivilgesellschaft durch alte Ideologien und neue Medien, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 205-216.
  • S. van Kessel (2015) ‘Dutch Populism during the Crisis’, in: H. Kriesi and T. Pappas (eds.) Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession, Colchester: ECPR Press, 109-124.
  • Abts, K. and S. van Kessel (2015) ‘Populism’, in: J. Wright (ed.) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 18. Oxford: Elsevier, 609–612.
  • T. Bale, D. Hough and S. van Kessel (2012) ‘In or out of proportion? Labour and social democratic parties’ responses to the radical right’, in: J. Rydgren (ed.) Class Politics and the Radical Right, Oxon: Routledge, 91-106.
  • S. van Kessel (2011) ‘Two of a kind or kind of incompatible? Populist parties in the Dutch and Polish party systems’, in: J. Gijsenbergh, S. Hollander, T. Houwen and W. de Jong (eds.) Creative Crises of Democracy, Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 381-400.
  • S. van Kessel and A. Krouwel (2011) ‘Van vergankelijke radicale dissidenten tot kwelgeesten van de gevestigde orde. Nieuwe politieke partijen in Nederland en de toekomst van de representative democratie’, in: R. Andeweg and J. Thomassen (eds.) Democratie Doorgelicht, het functioneren van de Nederlandse democratie, Leiden: Leiden University Press, 301-317.


PhD Supervision

Stijn currently supervises two PhD students:

Patricia Rodi (with Prof. Adam Fagan). Project title: ‘Populist political communication going mainstream? Populism in the discursive and communicative strategies of mainstream political parties in Western Europe’.

Salomé Ietter (with Dr Lasse Thomassen). Project title: ‘Populist versus liberal democracy? Anti-populist discourses in the UK and France and their implications for democratic dialogue’.

Stijn welcomes further applications in the fields of populism, radical right parties, the politics of European integration, and party competition in Europe. 

Public Engagement

Stijn has published commentaries and analyses for outlets including The Conversation, LSE EUROPP Blog, Policy Network Observatory, European Policy Institutes Network, Newsweek, Tagesspiegel, and the European Parties Elections and Referendums Network (EPERN).

He has given interviews for media including BBC radio and television, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Financial Times, and various other European dailies and online platforms.