Donatella Bonansinga

Populist Securitization Narratives: Resonance and Sense-making

donatella-bonansingaSupervisors: Dr Tereza CapelosDr Daniele Albertazzi

Donatella is broadly interested in the affective power of populism, its construction of security narratives and their impact on people’s perceptions of reality. During her PhD, funded by the ESRC, she plans to unpack the emotional and psychological dimensions of populist securitization narratives, as well as their impact on citizens’ own understanding of contemporary (in)security.


Donatella has a multidisciplinary background, having completed masters in political science, international relations, European politics and research methods. She currently works at the intersection of political science, IR and political psychology, on a PhD project that triangulates the study of populism with the literature on securitization and the scholarship on emotionality and sense-making. Before embarking on a PhD, Donatella was a project manager at a Prague-based think tank working in the field of international education and research. She has been involved in directing a number of academic events across Europe, including conferences, workshops and summer schools. In May 2017, she was awarded a Honourable Mention at the ABTA Doctoral Researcher Awards held at University College London.


  • 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

  • Right-wing populism
  • Emotionality
  • Securitization

Other activities


I teach/have taught Understanding Politics (1st year undergrad), Introduction to International Relations (1st year) and Populism in Comparative Perspective (final year).

Academic and public engagement

I currently serve as Communications Officer for the UK Political Studies Association specialist group on Political Psychology and I am also the co-convener of the Annual UK Political Psychology Conference.

I am interested in promoting the study of politics with teenagers and I have been invited several times to speak at local impact events.


Political Studies Association – PSA

International Studies Association – ISA

European Consortium of Political Research – ECPR

University Association for Contemporary European Studies - UACES


Articles and Book chapters:

Bonansinga, D. (2019) ‘The Securitization of Migration in Populist Discourse: Emotional and Affective Mechanisms at Play’, in Talani, L.S., and Rosina, M., (eds.) Tidal Waves? The political economy of migration and populism, Bern: Peter Lang

Bonansinga, D. (2015) ‘The Role Of Public Discourse In Threat Framing: The Case Of Islamophobia in Czech Republic’, CES Working Papers, Vol. VII, Issue 4, December 2015, pp. 824-839

Bonansinga, D. (2015) ‘Counterterrorism in the XXI Century and the Role of the EU’, Polish Political Science Review, Vol. 3, Issue 1June 2015, pp. 35-46

Papers in progress:

The relationship between emotions, politics and populism.

Party competition dynamics in Western Europe.

Populists in power and their security communication.

Contact details