UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Carlos Gómez del Tronco

Carlos Gomez Del Tronco

Supervisors: Professor Anne White and Professor Richard Mole

Email: c.deltronco@ucl.ac.uk

Present status: PhD candidate; FATIGUE Early Stage Researcher

Working Title of Thesis: The mainstreaming of Islamophobia in Czech political discourse and citizens’ attitudes, 2010-2020: discursive strategies, ideology and processes 

Research: Even though Islamophobia in Czechia had been increasing in public discourse, attitudes and politics since the early 2010s, it significantly grew from 2015 onward, consequently attracting substantial scholarly attention. Over the following years, several cross-national surveys measured the most negative attitudes towards Muslims in the EU among Czech respondents. This development contrasted with the fact that the country has historically been home to a small number of Muslims who sociologists report to be well integrated. In this respect, Islamophobia has been largely imported into the country from a Western European context through a promotion of the ideology in national public discourse. Furthermore, the co-option of Islamophobia by Czech high state officials and political parties across the ideological spectrum have served to legitimise anti-Muslim attitudes among many Czech citizens.

My research offers a better understanding as to why and how this shift as taken place. First, results from a thematic analysis of 30 semi-structured interviews with non-Muslim Czech citizens and Muslims living in Czechia offer insights into the social, political and sociocognitive processes that have led to the rise of anti-Muslim attitudes among Czechs. Second, a complementing Critical Discourse Analysis of mediatised political texts from 2014-2015 aims at understanding diachronic changes in the discursive strategies employed by different political actors to represent Muslims.

I conduct my PhD research as a member of the MSCA-funded FATIGUE programme, a network of fifteen Early Stage Researchers investigating the rise of illiberalism and populism in Central and Eastern Europe. As part of this project, I have spent a year in an academic secondment at the Department of Russian and East European Studies at Charles University Prague, as well as completing a four-month non-academic secondment at the Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations, also in Prague.

Research interests: discourse, social cognition, intergroup bias, anti-migrant attitudes, racism, nationalism, far-right politics and communication, migration within the EU context, Czech politics and society.

Twitter: @gomezdeltronco