Dr K.T.E. Jacobs (Kristof)
Associate professor - Empirical Political Science
Kristof Jacobs (Belgium) is an Associate professor at the Department of Political Science. His research focuses on contemporary challenges to democracy, their consequences and the responses to them. In 2019 he was awarded an NWO VIDI grant (2019-2023). In 2020, as co-PI, he received an NWO ORC grant to examine hybrid democratic innovations (2021-2025). He was the director of the Dutch 2016 and 2018 national referendum study and the co-director of the 2021 Dutch national election study.
1. Challenges. Contemporary democracies are under great pressure nowadays. In established democracies the quality of democracy risks being eroded by the rise of populist parties and the increase of ‘angry’ populist citizens.
2. Consequences. These challenges can cripple governments, lead to fragmentation and a lower legitimacy of decisions taken by governments. Moreover, because populist citizens do not feel heard, their anger can boil over and lead to illegal and ultimately violent action as a last resort (cf. protests against windmills and Black Pete).
3. Responses. In response to populist parties, governments often embark on changes of the electoral system. Regarding populist citizens, the criticism that governments do not sufficiently listen to angry citizens, can lead to democratic innovations to open up the democratic procedures. However, we do not know whether such democratic innovations help or not. This puzzle is his current research focus.
- Democratic challenges, populism, democratic innovations
- Political Science
- Zaslove, A., Geurkink, B., Jacobs, K., Akkerman, A. (2021) "Power to the people? Populism, democracy, and political participation: a citizen's perspective." West European Politics 44(4): 727-751.
- Jacobs, K., Spierings, N. (2019). A Populist Paradise? Examining Populists’ Twitter Adoption and Use. Information, Communication and Society. 22(12): 1681-1691.
- Jacobs, K., Zaslove, A., Akkerman, A. (2018). The Voice of Populist People? Referendum preferences, practices and populist attitudes. Acta Politica, 53(4): 517-541.
- Jacobs, K., Sandberg, L., & Spierings, N. (2020). Twitter and Facebook: Populists’ double-barreled gun? New Media & Society, 22(4), 611-633.
- Nunez, L., & Jacobs, K. T. (2016). Catalysts and barriers: Explaining electoral reform in Western Europe. European Journal of Political Research, 55(3), 454-473.
Research grants and prizes
- 2019 - In May 2019 I was awarded an NWO VIDI grant to examine the relationship between populist attitudes and democratic innovations More information
- 2020 - In November 2020 the REDRESS consortium of which I am a co-PI [along with Carolien van Ham and Frank Hendriks (main PI)] received an NWO ORC grant to examine hybrid democratic innovations.