Q&A with Julian Göpffarth

Researching the role and drivers of intellectual support for far right populism in Germany

Julian is a PhD candidate with the European Institute

The School gives you the feeling it trusts in your research and capacities

Julian Göpffarth

Julian Göpffarth
Julian Göpffarth

What are you currently researching?

I am researching the role and drivers of intellectual support for far right populism in Germany. To do so I combine ethnography, political theory and philosophy.

What attracted you to this area of research?

After hearing speeches by Marine Le Pen that included references to philosophy, I realised there wasn’t much literature explaining the role of intellectuals in far right populism and contemporary politics more generally.

How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?

I hope to shed light on factors that facilitate the rise of far right populism that go beyond purely economic explanations and help us explain how far right populism might attract people we might not think of as its core electorate.

What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?

I hope to be able to continue research in the field of intellectuals and politics and use a post-doc to look at cases other than Germany or the far right.

What are your top three tips to prospective students on the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?

  • Narrow down your research project early so it’s feasible and does not overwhelm you.
  • Use as many opportunities as possible to present your research and ideas and pick other people’s brains so you can learn how to present and defend your ideas and become aware of the main debates in your field.
  • Trust your gut feeling on how to structure your working day/week and don’t let what other students are doing stress you out. You need to find your own rhythm and be able to take time off.

What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?

There are many seminars and workshops at the PhD academy designed to help young researchers. I found most of them very useful especially as they provide a space to exchange with other PhD students and hear that, even when working on different subjects, many of our worries and problems are the same.

What do you enjoy most about studying at LSE?

The School gives you the feeling it trusts in your research and capacities and provides you with great opportunities to get funding to present your work. It also provides networks with other students who work on similar topics from different departments. LSE is a great place to get into teaching, preparing you well with teaching induction workshops and mostly bright and curious students who are fun to teach.