School of Politics and International Relations

Staff menu

Dr Stijn van Kessel


Lecturer in European Politics

Telephone: 020 7882 2164
Room Number: Arts One, Room 2.31
Office Hours: Tuesday 3-4pm & Wednesday 10-11am


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 previously 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 and the discourse, voters and electoral performance of populist parties in Europe, with a particular focus on the radical right. More general interests include European Union politics, elections, party competition, party system change in Europe, and related questions of democratic legitimacy.

Since January 2014, Stijn has been one of the convenors of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy.

You can follow him on Twitter @StijnTvanKessel

Undergraduate Teaching

POL105 Political Analysis

POL248 Comparative European Politics


Research Interests:

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

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 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Brexit Priority Grant and runs from April 2017 until October 2018.



S. van Kessel (2015) Populist Parties in Europe. Agents of Discontent?, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (published in paperback: February 2017).

Special issue (guest-edited)

A. Pirro, P. Taggart and S. van Kessel (eds.) (forthcoming) ‘The Populist Politics of Euroscepticism in Times of Crisis, Politics.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

A. Pirro and S. van Kessel (2018) ‘Populist Eurosceptic trajectories in Italy and the Netherlands during the European crises’, Politics, OnlineFirst

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.

Journal articles (not peer-reviewed)

S. van Kessel and A. Pirro (2014) ‘Discontent on the move: Prospects for populist radical right parties in 2014 European Parliament elections’, Intereconomics, 49 (1), 14-18.

Book chapters

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.

Peer-reviewed working papers/reports

S. van Kessel (2015) ‘Up to the challenge? The electoral performance of challenger parties after their first period in power’, COMPASSS Working Paper, 2015-84, 15-12-2015. Available at:

S. van Kessel (2010) 'Swaying the disgruntled floating voter. The rise of populist parties in contemporary Dutch politics', Sussex European Institute Working Paper, no. 113. Available at:

J. Pelkmans and S. van Kessel (2007), 'Encapsulating services in the 'polder': Processing the Bolkestein Directive in Dutch Politics', WRR Web publication, no. 31. Available at:

PhD Supervision

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

He welcomes further applications in the fields of populism, Euroscepticism, radical right parties, and party competition in Europe. 

Public Engagement

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

In addition, he has given interviews for media including BBC radio and television, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Financial Times, Telegraph, and various other European dailies.

Return to top