Theme Panel: The Rise of the Radical Right in Europe after the Migrant Crisis and Paris


Theme Panel: The Rise of the Radical Right in Europe after the Migrant Crisis and Paris

Sat, September 3, 12:00 to 1:30pm

The conference theme, “Great Transformations”, prompts us to ask about the populist response to the Migrant Crisis and Paris attacks in late 2015.

In 1950 there were two and a half Europeans for every African. In 2050 there will be four Africans for every European. In addition, the post-1970 Islamic Revival, which has convulsed the Muslim world, means Salafi-jihadism persists as a major security concern in Europe. How will Europe (and the West more generally) respond to these cultural and demographic ‘great transformations’?

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), Danish People’s Party and French Front National (FN) won as much as a third of their countries’ white vote in the 2014 European elections to finish in first place. After the Syrian Migrant Crisis and Paris attacks in late 2015, most populist right parties surged. In Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ PVV saw a doubling of support, as did the FPO in Austria. The Sweden Democrats, until recently an electoral minnow, doubled their popular support from 12 to 25 percent. In the French regional elections of December 2015, Marine Le Pen broke through to win in 6 of the country’s 13 regions on 28 percent of the first round vote, a historic achievement. In Germany and Sweden, as in much of western Europe, concern over immigration soared to first place in the electorate’s list of priorities.

While low trust in politicians and economic hard times play their part, scholars concur that cultural motivations are critical for explaining both populist right support (i.e. Mudde 2007) and opposition to immigration (ie Hopkins and Hainmueller 2014). Left-wing populism has thus failed to enjoy the same success as its right-wing counterpart since the late 1980s.

The location as well as the level of populist right voting matters for politics. In addition to examining individual-level drivers, this panel includes a number of multilevel analyses which ask how local contexts (ethnic composition and change, deprivation, urbanity) affect support for immigration and the populist right. We also examine the role of welfare chauvinism and the appeal of the populist right to former left wing voters.

View in the 2016 Online Program. 

Eric Kaufmann, University of London


  • The ‘Left Behind’?: Reconciling Individual and Aggregate UKIP Voting
    Eric P. Kaufmann, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • The Politicization of Immigration and Welfare: A New Swedish Dilemma
    Maureen A. Eger, Umeå University
  • Does Diversity Produce White Hostility?: A Meta Analysis
    Matthew Thomas James Goodwin, University of Kent
    Eric P. Kaufmann, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Subnational Drivers of Nationalism: France, Germany, Netherlands and UK
    Kai Arzheimer, University of Mainz
    Jocelyn Evans, University of Leeds
    Carl Clemens Berning, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz