Theme Panel: The Rise of the Populist Right?: Anti-Immigration Parties in Western Europe

The Rise of the Populist Right?: Anti-Immigration Parties in Western Europe

Thu, September 3, 2:00 to 3:45pm, Hilton, Continental Parlor 2

Session Description

The conference theme, “Diversities Reconsidered”, prompts us to ask about the response of ethnic majorities to rising diversity in Europe. The 2014 European Elections witnessed the strongest ever result for anti-immigration parties in western Europe. In France, Britain and Denmark, the Front National, UKIP and Danish People’s Party won outright, with 24.86, 26.77 and 26.6 percent of the vote respectively. In Austria, Finland and Greece, far right parties came third with the FPO receiving 19.72, the True Finns 12.9, and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn 9.38 percent. In the same year the Sweden Democrats burst onto the Swedish political scene winning 14 percent of seats in the Swedish parliament.

This panel presents recent research from European and American scholars using new data that examines the drivers of support for the Sweden Democrats, UK Independence Party and, in comparative perspective, the wider European far right. Our work considers both the supply and demand The-Rise-of-the-Populist-Rightconditions associated with the rise of the populist right. Panellists examine the role of ethno-spatial context, immigration, education, party supply and economic forces on individual voting behaviour, framing these analyses within the context of theories of nationalism and the far right. In particular, following the insights of Mudde (2007), contributors focus on cultural divisions and change as an independent variable associated with populist right support – while engaging with perspectives emphasizing economic restructuring and political opportunity. The ‘New Politics’ cleavage, bisecting traditional divisions of left and right, elucidated by Bell (1976), Inglehart (1990) and Betz (1994) offers a further point of departure.