Nonna Mayer

Nonna Mayer (© Thomas Arrive / Sciences Po)

Professor Nonna Mayer, Sciences Po

"It is with great pleasure that we confirm Nonna Mayer as the winner of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement award.

Nonna's contribution to the literature and understanding of the radical right in Europe has been immense. Her monographs on the Front National, radical right party activists and voters, and articles on topics such as the radical right gender gap have cemented her reputation as one of the leading global scholars in what has now become a very crowded academic field.

Nonna has been involved in major grant projects on racism, anti-Semitism, immigration, inequality and precarity. Her work, which is both theoretically and empirically driven, is renowned in France, Europe and beyond. Throughout her career Nonna has always sought to extend the impact of her research beyond the academic community to a wider audience.

She is an Emeritus Director of Research at the Centre Etudes Européennes et Politique Comparée at Sciences-Po Paris and remains involved in a number of ongoing projects. Her work on populism and the radical right amounts to a huge contribution to the discipline of European Studies with her analyses remaining as salient as ever."(Nicholas Startin, UACES Chair)

The award was presented at the UACES Annual Conference Dinner in Lisbon on 3 September 2019.


We've asked some colleagues and friends to write a few words about Nonna:

"When I was studying political science in France in the late 1980s, Nonna’s name would invariably crop up on any reading list which covered the subjects of electoral studies and the Front National. At that time, I started reading her work, which was of great benefit. In 2016, as a professor of French and European politics, I had the pleasure to welcome Nonna at UCL where she gave the inaugural PSA French Politics Annual Lecture. Her talk that evening was as well-informed and thought-provoking as the publications I had read decades earlier."

Philippe Marlière, University College London


"Nonna Mayer is a pioneer of the empirical study of far right electorates and politics, who remains an inspiration for established and new scholars alike. Her analysis of subgroups of far right electorates was an academic milestone, which fundamentally changed the way many scholars, including myself, understood far right politics. Always challenging received wisdom, with data rather than opinion, Nonna has crafted the perfect balance between academic scholarship and public engagement that remains so much needed today."

Cas Mudde, University of Georgia


"In our research team at Sciences Po, we distinguish between two types of researchers: ‘moles’ and ‘butterflies’. Moles pursue their tasks by deepening their understanding on specific topics, while butterflies flutter around changing their research interests. Many of us consider Nonna to be a typical ‘mole’, but I would say that she is no ordinary one. To me, she belongs to the specific category of star-nosed mole (condylura cristata), combining 'flair' (a nose for good research topics) - and tenacity."

Florence Haegel, Sciences Po


“Professor Nonna Mayer is one of these few absolutely outstanding scholars. Her paradigm-shifting research on the Front National and far right more generally was one of the reasons which drove me to academia, but she can equally be praised in my opinion by her incredibly ethical research outlook and practice, as well as supportive and yet casual attitude, which confirms that academia can and should be a force for good in our societies."

Aurelien Mondon, University of Bath


"Nonna Mayer’s outstanding work on the radical right and French political behaviour inspired a whole generation of scholars working on populism and party politics. Beyond her academic impact, Nonna is also a very kind and approachable person who would not hesitate to give excellent advice and help early career researchers. She is a model to many of us."

Benjamin Leruth, University of Groningen


Nonna's colleagues and friends are welcome to share messages of congratulations and testimonials on social media (via @uaces @uaceseurope). We will be compiling them on this page...