PROTEMO <br>Emotional dynamics of protective policies in an age of insecurity

Emotional dynamics of protective policies in an age of insecurity

January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2026
36 months

PROTEMO investigates the emotional connection between the state and individuals. The focus is on protective policies and their consequences for individuals, groups of citizens and non-citizens as well as for democracy, political participation, and mobilisation. Such policies, and the emotional dynamics related to them, increasingly dominate politics in the current age of insecurity. Fear, anger, pride and hope are only some of the emotions that are often involved in political interactions and sometimes with important consequences, as events such as the Yellow Vest protests illustrate. PROTEMO asks: (1) How do political actors perceive and influence the emotional needs of citizens (and non-citizens) and how does this play out in the policy process? (2) What emotional reactions, judgements and actions elicit protective policies among individuals and publics in society? (3) How do citizens’ emotional reactions feed back on the policy process? Answering these questions allows us to study emotional responsiveness - a crucial yet neglected aspect of representative democracy.


We will field a representative survey of 11 countries, design experiments, make focused comparisons of a smaller range of specific policies (e.g. pandemic responses, climate change) and conduct several “deep dives” where, we investigate how underprivileged citizens, migrant women, and refugees from Ukraine form emotional needs towards protection and build discursive spaces to articulate them in the public sphere. Bringing together perceptions of emotions by political actors and emotional reactions of citizens and non-citizens to protective policies with an analysis of the emotionality of the policy process toward protective policies allows us to contribute to a broader debate on the future of representative democracy and affective citizenship. PROTEMO’s results will lead to improved EU policy-making and enhanced communication of evidence-based policies.


Project coordinated by the University of Saarland (Germany)

insecurity, emotional responsiveness, affective citizenship, protective policies
Funding Entity
European Commission