foto jongeren met protestborden uitzending brandpunt
foto jongeren met protestborden uitzending brandpunt

The Voice of the People

Popular Expectations of Democracy in Postwar Europe
1 September 2020 until 31 August 2025
Project member(s)
Prof. H.G.J. Kaal (Harm) J.L. Harrison (Jamie Lee) M. Fischer (Malte) S.J. Ploeg (Solange) Prof. W.P. van Meurs (Wim) , Professor Adrian Bingham (Sheffield) , Professor Thomas Mergel (Humboldt, Berlin) , Professor Huub Wijfjes (RUG/UvA)
Project type

The Voice of the People investigates and compares the articulation and mediatisation of popular perceptions and expectations of democracy in three Western-European countries – (West) Germany, Britain and the Netherlands – roughly between the end of the Second World War and the 1980s. The project combines an interest in both the actual perceptions and expectations of politics voiced by citizens and the various practices through which their voices were rendered legible and brought in the public sphere. This means that we explore the role played by, among others, journalists, pollsters, and broadcasters in mediating and co-constructing the ‘voice of the people’.

At the heart of the investigation are a range of communicative practices and mass media platforms through which the voice of the people entered the political sphere: the letters and petitions citizens sent to Parliament and leading politicians, newspapers that commissioned and published opinion polls and letters to the editor, and television which early on experimented with formats in which citizens were given the opportunity to speak their minds on the political issues of the day.


  • Gerda Henkel Foundation
  • Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH)

Contact information