Simona Guerra

Dr Simona Guerra


Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics
DPhil (Sussex), MSc (Sussex), MA (Siena, Strasbourg, Krakow), BA (Pisa)
+44 (0)1483 682364
27 AP 01
1PM-2PM on Mon and 10.30AM-12.30PM on Tue (via zoom) email to book in advance

Academic and research departments

Centre for Britain and Europe, Department of Politics.

Biography

Research

Research interests

My teaching

My publications

Publications

SIMONA GUERRA (2021)LA TORSIONE ILLIBERALE E IL RAPPORTO CON L'UE, In: Italianieuropei Italianieuropei
SIMONA GUERRA (2020)Understanding public Euroscepticism, In: Quaderni dell’Osservatorio Elettorale QOE - IJES83(2)pp. 45-56 Firenze University Press
Euroscepticism has become more and more embedded both at the EU and national levels (Usherwood et al. 2013) and persistent across domestic debates (Usherwood and Startin 2013). This study presents an in-depth analysis of contemporary narratives of Euroscepticism. It first introduces its question related to understanding public Euroscepticism, following the British EU referendum campaign and outcome, to then present the established literature, and the analysis of the British case study. A survey run in Britain in May 2019 shows that, as already noted by Oliver Daddow (2006, 2011), Euroscepticism is very much identifiable in the traditional narratives of Europe as the Other. Context accountability (Daddow 2006) is still cause for concern in Britain and by assuming a more positive view of a European Britain (Daddow 2006) does not make the debate more informed. Images, narratives and specific issues to reform the Eurosceptic toolbox into a more neutral, but informative, instrument could be applied at the grassroots level, as the post-referendum demonstrations and manifestations have shown. British citizens are reclaiming their own European citizenship, and deconstructing existing Euromyths can be a first small step forward.
Simona Guerra (2020)The politics of the EU as crisis, mobilization and catharsis, In: Comparative European politics (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)18pp. 982-991 Springer
Through the analysis of the crisis, and its impact on European identity and on politics and party systems, this review provides three contributions. First, the persistence of crisis throughout the history of European integration is explained as a significant factor strengthening the EU and triggering the emergence of the social construction of embedded narratives. These tensions deal with identity, culture and attitudes towards the EU, but also with the EU at the political level and the role of the EU as global actor. This leads to the second debate, with a focus on the different impact the crisis has had, by examining the case of the United Kingdom, Poland and Germany. The crisis indicates the salience of the national contexts, institutions, actors and narratives, shaping the responses, while the domestic experiences, towards the responses themselves, stress divergences and differences across member states. Third, the focus on Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, and their party system, addresses the possible prolonged long-lasting crisis, characterizing the Southern member states. As Jean Monnet wrote, it is not the institutions that create the EU, but the people who shape the institutions. Further research can address how the EU is differently represented, experienced and articulated.
Evangelos Fanoulis, Simona Guerra (2018)Anger and protest: referenda and opposition to the EU in Greece and the United Kingdom, In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs30(4)pp. 305-324 Routledge
The public image of the European Union (EU) has met increasingly negative evaluations since the economic and financial crisis hit its peak. Although opposition towards the EU has been pitched as a temporary phenomenon, it has now become a distinctive characteristic of European integration, described as ‘embedded’. Recent analyses on citizens’ attitudes towards the EU underline a rational utilitarian dimension, stressing that EU attachment is affected by future life expectations. Are rationalist perspectives the only possible explanation behind the rise of Euroscepticism, though? This article offers an alternative approach, by using discourse analysis, and examines how emotions, as embedded in Eurosceptic discursive frames and practices, may affect attitudes towards the EU. We argue that an analysis of citizens’ opposition through emotions when the salience of the EU increases can show how a Eurosceptic emotion-laden public discourse may become prominent at the domestic level.
Simona Guerra, H.J Trenz (2019)Civil society and the EU, In: European Union Politics Oxford University Press
Daniela Vintila, Laura Morales, Luis Ramiro, Simona Guerra, Angeliki Konstantinidou, Gabriella Lazaridis (2016)The Political Representation of Citizens of Immigrant Origin in Spain, Italy and Greece, In: ECPR European Consortium for Political Research
During the 1990s and the 2000s, Spain, Italy and Greece experienced a considerable growth of immigration. In just two decades, the immigrant population has multiplied more than fivefold in all three countries and by the end of the 2000s, residents of immigrant origin already accounted for 7 per cent of the overall population in Italy, 8 per cent in Greece and 13 per cent in Spain, respectively. This accelerated demographic change has put pressure on the democratic representative system of these countries, with large numbers of new residents and new citizens wishing to have a voice in the direction of collective affairs. Yet, their possibilities of securing political representation might have been constrained not only by the institutional and partisan setting in these “new” countries of immigration in Europe, but also by the fact that the public opinion has become increasingly concerned about immigration and immigrants’ integration in all three cases. As we will show, the levels of descriptive representation of citizens of immigrant origin (CIOs) are still very reduced and quite distant to those found in other European countries, thus pointing to a common ‘South European’ pattern. The paper examines how the above-mentioned institutional and societal factors have affected parties’ strategies in relation to the incorporation of CIOs into elected office and how issues relating to timing, the size of the CIO electorate (as opposed to the CIO resident population), and party competition dynamics might help us understand the descriptive representation gaps. The paper further explores their substantive political representation, by systematically comparing the behaviour of CIO and non-CIO elected representatives in the parliamentary arena in Spain, Italy and Greece.
Simona Guerra (2020)Poland and the EU: The historical roots of resilient forms of Euroscepticism among public Euroenthusiasm, In: Euroscepticisms: The Historical Roots of a Political Challenge Brill Publishing
Roberta Guerrina, Theofanis Exadaktylos, Simona Guerra (2018)Gender, ownership and engagement during the European Union referendum: gendered frames and the reproduction of binaries, In: European Journal of Politics & Gender1(3)pp. pp 387-404 Bristol University Press
The European Union referendum was supposed to be a significant moment for political engagement and ownership in the UK. This article looks at how the two official European Union referendum campaigns (Vote Leave and Remain) framed discussions about the UK’s membership of the European Union, as well as the impact of the campaign on women’s political activation. Using data from a survey questionnaire conducted two weeks after the European Union referendum (in July 2016), we analyse women’s sense of political efficacy and engagement with European politics. We project those findings on a frame analysis, where we assess the footprint of each campaign in terms of issue coverage and the salience of gender as a campaign issue. Our findings shed light on the way in which issue framing and confidence affect the quality of political engagement among ‘weak publics’.
This volume focuses on the relationship between the media and European democracy, as important factors of EU legitimacy. The contributors show how the media play a crucial role in making European governance accountable, and how it can act as an intermediate link between citizens and their elected and unelected representatives.
Simona Guerra (2019)“Immigration, that’s what everyone’s thinking about …”, In: Journal of Language and Politics18(5)pp. 651-670 John Benjamins Publishing
This article examines the 2016 British EU referendum and the domestic debates through the citizens’ voices in the media, specifically on the emotions and narratives, on The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Express, the week before the referendum. British citizens felt, in their words, “bullied because of [their] political correctness” and pointed their anger and dissatisfaction against the EU (and Merkel’s) “obsession for open borders”. The analysis underlines that these emotions and narratives, combining immigration and sovereignty, have remained embedded in the post-Brexit days, and go back not just to Billig’s banal nationalism (1995), but show that voting Leave represented respect towards true British values, the “core country” as conceptualised by Taggart (2000). Powellism (Hampshire 2018) and Wright’s “encroanchment” of Englishness (2017), and the analysis on the immigration narrative explain how anti-immigration and sovereignty discourse is persisting and is influencing, more broadly, the social and political relation of Britain with Europe.
Evangelos Fanoulis, Simona Guerra (2020)Veridiction and Leadership in Transnational Populism: The Case of DiEM25, In: Politics and Governance8(1)pp. 217-225 Cogitatio Press
While research tends to explore questions of power and leadership at the national level, populism in Europe has moved beyond national borders, with an increasing number of transnational movements and organizations. This article investigates the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) and its leadership’s main speeches. Informed by both discourse theory and Michel Foucault’s work on parrhesia (veridiction), the analysis draws on readings of transnational Euroalternativism and populism, pointing out the conflicting logic of bringing them together at the transnational level. Our findings thus stress the increasing politicization of European integration as an opportunity to mobilize transnational activities, which are based on the populist ‘people vs. the elites’ dichotomy and against Brussels’ unaccountable elites (see FitzGibbon & Guerra, 2019), while indicating the limits of leadership in a populist transnational movement (de Cleen, Moffitt, Panayotu, & Stavrakakis, 2019; Marzolini & Souvlis, 2016).
Simona Guerra, John FitzGibbon (2019)Transnational Euroscepticism vs Transnational Euroalternativism, In: ECPR European Consortium for Political Research
Peter Mair argued that the lack of an institutional framework that facilitates the contestation over European politics makes European integration politics a “zero-sum game”. Yet, in the time following this statement the dynamism of Euroscepticism has allowed it to evolve its strategy beyond national contestation of the EU into a ‘transnational European political space’ (FitzGibbon et al. 2016). The centralisation of economic and financial supervision in response to the ‘Eurocrisis’ has provided Eurosceptics with the opportunity for structuring a new form of pan-European contestation that has adapted to these new policy realities. Understanding this evolution of Eurosceptic strategy helps, in part, to explain why a nativist politician, Matteo Salvini, is now calling for a pan-Eurosceptic alliance. This development gives rise to important questions; principally can this form of transnational contestation be described as Euroscepticism? And, if so, what type? We argue that the recent 2019 EP elections demonstrate opposing (successful) transnational Eurosceptic collaborations: on the right, opposing EU integration on the political and economic side, protecting national sovereignty, in particular with regard to the immigration agenda; and on the left, adopting a Euro-alternative agenda, pointing to accountability, transparency, legitimacy, democracy, the role of the ECB, and a border-free Europe. This is a significant development as the EP has long been the arena in which the ‘zeitgeist’ of Euroscepticism has manifested itself and the surface of new forms of contestation (Caiani and Guerra 2017) towards the EU.

Additional publications