The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy

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The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy

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Publication Article, other scientific
Title The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy
Author(s) Mudde, Cas
Date 2008
Editor(s) Bevelander, Pieter
English abstract
In recent years more and more studies have pointed to the limitations of demand-side explanations of the electoral success of populist radical right parties. They argue that supply-side factors need to be included as well. While previous authors have made these claims on the basis of purely empirical arguments, this paper provides a (meta)theoretical argumentation for the importance of supply-side explanations. It takes issue with the dominant view on the populist radical right, which considers it to be alien to mainstream values in contemporary western democracies, expressed most explicitly in the “normal pathology thesis”. Instead, it argues that the populist radical right should be seen as a radical interpretation of mainstream values, or, to stay in Scheuch and Klingemann’s terminology, as a pathological normalcy. This argument is substantiated on the basis of an empirical analysis of party ideologies and mass attitudes. The proposed paradigmatic shift has profound consequences for the way the populist radical right and western democracy relate, as well as on how the populist radical right is best studied. Most importantly, it makes demand for populist radical right politics an assumption rather than a puzzle, and turns the prime focus of research on the political struggle over issue saliency and positions, and on the role of populist radical right parties within these struggles.
Publisher Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) and Department of International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER), Malmö University
Host/Issue Willy Brandt Series of Working Papers in International Migration and Ethnic Relations;3/07
ISSN 1650-5743
Pages 24
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) populism
radical right
political ideology
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Ethnicity
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