Donatella Bonansinga

The Role of (In)security in Populist Narratives

donatella-bonansingaSupervisor: Dr Tereza Capelos

Donatella is a recipient of the ESRC PhD Studentship Award.  Working at the intersection between political science, international relations and political psychology, she is currently researching how radical populist actors understand and narrate the meaning of contemporary (in)security to their publics. 

Her most recent publications focus on populism as relating to insecurity and COVID narratives, the securitisation of migration, emotions and party competition dynamics. Her research interests lie, more broadly, in radical populism, its communicative aspects and affective power. Donatella has co-founded a research network on ‘populism and emotions’ and is currently guest editing three special issues on the theme. 


Donatella’s educational background includes three MAs in International Relations, European politics and Social Research (with Distinction), completed between England, Belgium and Italy, in multiple languages. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, she worked as a project manager in Prague coordinating international education programs in the NGO sector. 

Donatella is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has experience teaching populism, political science and IR modules to Bachelor's students. She is interested in promoting the study of politics with young people and has been invited to speak at impact events in Birmingham and London. Supported by an ESRC knowledge-exchange grant, Donatella has also collaborated with Shout Out UK, an award-winning social enterprise promoting political and media literacy for young people, in defence of democratic sustainability.


  • BA in Politics and International Relations, University of Catania (Italy)
  • MA in Global Politics and Euro-Mediterranean Relations, University of Catania
  • MA in Political Science and European Politics, University of Liege (Belgium)
  • MA in Social Research (University of Birmingham – 2018)

Research interests

  • Radical populism
  • Security and threat construction
  • Emotional rhetoric
  • European politics

Other activities


She has contributed to teaching on the following modules:

  • Understanding Politics (1st year undergraduate)
  • Introduction to International Relations (1st year)
  • Populism in Comparative Perspective (final year).

Professional memberships

  • Political Studies Association – PSA
  • International Studies Association – ISA
  • European Consortium of Political Research – ECPR
  • University Association for Contemporary European Studies - UACES

Contact details


Twitter: @dbonansinga