Advertisement

Identity Politics and Democratic Crisis in Western Europe

  • Dingping GuoEmail author
  • Shujia Hu
Original Article
  • 12 Downloads

Abstract

This article analyzes political problems and the democratic crisis in Western Europe from the perspective of the rise of identity politics. It is argued that the root cause of the crisis lies in the Western democracy itself. Modern liberal democracy has encouraged the upsurge of active groups based primarily on their distinctive collective identities. With the rise of identity politics, antagonistic groups have struggled for recognition and expanded social divisions among the people, which has led to a representation crisis. Both Muslim and non-Muslim citizens, immigrants and non-immigrant citizens have expressed discontent and dissatisfaction with the democratic governments in almost all Western European countries, which has led to a legitimacy crisis. Political parties and local governments based on regional or religious identities have mobilized mass support for their independence proposals and posed serious challenges to national unity and solidarity, which has led to a governance crisis. Institutional redesign and innovation are important and imperative for overcoming these crises.

Keywords

Identity politics Democratic crisis Refugee crisis Multiculturalism Western Europe 

References

  1. Aalberg, T., F. Esser, C. Reinemann, J. Stromback, and C. De Vreese (eds.). 2016. Populist political communication in Western Europe. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Aguero, Felipe. 1995. Soldiers, civilians, and democracy: post-Franco Spain in comparative perspective. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Allan, James. 2014. Democracy in decline: steps in the wrong direction. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Armingeon, Klaus, and Guthmann Kai. 2013. Democracy in crisis? The declining support for national democracy in Western European countries, 2007–2011. European Journal of Political Research 53 (3): 423–442.Google Scholar
  5. Arwine, A.T., and L.C. Mayer. 2013. The Changing basis of political conflict in advanced western democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Barber, Tony. 2012. Western Europe must Confront crisis of legitimacy. The Financial Times, 23/4/2012. https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4e2c793c-8d50-11e1-8b49-00144feab49a.html. Accessed 09 Oct 2018.
  7. Bertoli, S., V. Dequiedt, and Y. Zenou. 2016. Can selective immigration policies reduce migrants’ quality? Journal of Development Economics 119: 100–109.Google Scholar
  8. Bleich, Erik. 1998. From international ideas to domestic policies: educational multiculturalism in England and France. Comparative Politics 31 (1): 81–100.Google Scholar
  9. Khan, Maria. 2015. Germany: Anti-Islam Pegida protest rally draws record 25,000 in Dresden. International Business Times, 13/01/2015 https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/germany-anti-islam-pegida-protest-rally-draws-record-25000-dresden-1483097. Accessed 12 Oct 2018.
  10. Bullock, A. 1975. A language for life: The Bullock Report, (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1975), http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/bullock/. Accessed 20 Oct 2018.
  11. Cairney, Paul. 2011. The Scottish Political System since Devolution. Exeter: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
  12. Carr, Raymond. 1996. Huanghuo De Lvcheng (Modern Spain 1875–1980). Shanghai: Xuelin Chubanshe.Google Scholar
  13. Castles, Francis G. 2002. Policy performance in the democratic state: an emergent field of study. In Comparative democratic politics, ed. Hans Keman. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Cordero, G., and Pablo Simón. 2016. Economic crisis and support for democracy in Western Europe. Western European Politics 39 (2): 305–325.Google Scholar
  15. Crozier, M., S.P. Huntington, and J. Watanuki. 1975. The crisis of democracy. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Dahl, Robert A. 1982. Dilemmas of pluralist democracy: autonomy vs. control. New Haven: Yale University.Google Scholar
  17. Dahl, Robert A. 1998. On democracy. New Haven: Yale University.Google Scholar
  18. Easton, David. 1975. A re-assessment of the concept of political support. British Journal of Political Science 5 (04): 435.Google Scholar
  19. Ercan, Selen A. 2015. Creating and sustaining evidence for “failed multiculturalism”: the case of “honor killing” in Germany. American Behavioral Scientist 59 (6): 658–678.Google Scholar
  20. Fabbrini, Sergio. 2013. Intergovernmentalism and its limits: assessing the western european union’s answer to the Euro crisis. Comparative Political Studies 46 (9): 1003–1029.Google Scholar
  21. Feng, Xuejun. 2017. Adjustment of German refugee policy, People’s daily, 10/11/2017. http://world.people.com.cn/n1/2017/1011/c1002-29579362.html. Accessed 20 Oct 2018.
  22. Fukuyama, Francis. 2006. Identity, immigration, and liberal democracy. Journal of Democracy 17 (2): 5–20.Google Scholar
  23. Fukuyama, Francis. 2018. Identity: the demand for dignity and the politics of resentment. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  24. Fekete, Liz. 2004. Anti-Muslim racism and Western European security state. Race & Class 46 (1): 3–29.Google Scholar
  25. Figueroa, Peter. 2001. Multicultural education in the United Kingdom: historical development and current status. In The handbook of research on multicultural education, ed. J.A. Banks and C.A. Banks. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  26. Fomina, Joanna. 2006. The failure of British multiculturalism: lessons for Western Europe. Polish Sociological Review 8 (156): 409–424.Google Scholar
  27. Gabriel, S.P., E.T. Gomez, and Z. Rocha. 2012. Between policy and reality: multiculturalism, the second generation, and the third space in Britain. Asia Western Europe Journal 10 (4): 267–285.Google Scholar
  28. Goulard, Hortense, Cynthia, Kroet. 2016. Dutch party wants to outlaw mosques, Islamic schools, Koran, Politico, 8/26/2016. http://www.politico.eu/article/far-right-dutch-politician-backs-mosques-koran-ban-islamic-schools/. Accessed 23 Oct 2018.
  29. Gustavsson, G., J. Noll, and R. Sundberg. 2016. Opposing the veil in the name of liberalism: popular attitudes to liberalism and Muslim veiling in the Netherlands. Ethnic & Racial Studies 39 (10): 1–19.Google Scholar
  30. Gutmann, Amy. 2003. Identity in democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. Who are we? The challenges to America’s national identity. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  32. Isakhan, B., and S. Slaughter. 2014. Democracy and crisis: democratising governance in the twenty-first century. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. Jeffery, Charlie. 2008. Where stands the union now? Scottish-English relations after devolution. In Scotland and the union 1707–2007, ed. T.M. Devine. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Johnston, Alison, and Regan Aidan. 2016. Western European monetary integration and the incompatibility of national varieties of capitalism. Journal of Common Market Studies 54 (2): 318–336.Google Scholar
  35. Joppke, Christian. 2010. The retreat of multiculturalism in the liberal state: theory and policy. British Journal of Sociology 55 (2): 237–257.Google Scholar
  36. Kern, A., S. Marien, and M. Hooghe. 2015. Economic crisis and levels of political participation in Western Europe (2002–2010): the role of resources and grievances. West Western European Politics 38 (3): 465–490.Google Scholar
  37. Kriesi, Hanspeter. 2012. The political consequences of the financial and economic crisis in Western Europe: electoral punishment and popular protest. Swiss Political Science Review 18 (4): 518–522.Google Scholar
  38. Kuenssberg, Laura. 2011. State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron. BBC News. 2/5/2011 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-12371994. Accessed 20 Oct 2018.
  39. Laqueur, Walter. 2005. Western Europe in the 21st century. Society 41 (1): 67–74.Google Scholar
  40. Leiken, Robert S. 2012. Western Europe’s angry Muslims: the revolt of the second generation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Lijphart, Arend. 2012a. Consociational democracy. Comparative Economic & Social Systems 21 (2): 207–225.Google Scholar
  42. Lijphart, Arend. 2012b. Patterns of democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Lilla, Mark. 2016. The end of identity liberalism, New York Times, 18/11/2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html. Accessed 19 Oct 2018.
  44. Malik, Kenan. 2015. The failure of multiculturalism: community versus Society in Europe. Foreign Affairs 2: 241–320.Google Scholar
  45. Mair, Peter. 1994. The correlates of consensus democracy and the puzzle of Dutch politics. West Western European Politics 17 (4): 97–123.Google Scholar
  46. Muir, Hugh. and Rosie Cowan. 2005. Four bombs in 50 min—Britain suffers its worst-ever terror attack. The Guardian, 7/8/2005. https://web.archive.org/web/20071217222740/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0%2C%2C1523819%2C00.html. Accessed 23 Oct 2018.
  47. Noack, Rick. 2016. Leaked document says 2000 men allegedly assaulted 1,200 German women on New Year’s Eve, The Washington Post, 7/10/2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/10/leaked-document-says-2000-men-allegedly-assaulted-1200-german-women-on-new-years-eve/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8a9250316491. Accessed 23 Oct 2018.
  48. Norris, Pippa. 2011. Democratic Deficit. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Obaidi, M., J.R. Kunst, N. Kteily, et al. 2018. Living under Threat: Mutual Threat Perception Drives Anti-Muslim and Anti-Western Hostility in the Age of Terrorism. Western European Journal of Social Psychology. 48: 567–584.Google Scholar
  50. Pharr, Susan J., and Robert D. Putnam. 2000. Disaffected democracies: what’s troubling the trilateral countries?. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Pritchard, A., Clements, J. 2003. Fortuyn killed ‘to protect Muslims’, The Daily Telegraph, 5/28/2003. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/1425944/Fortuyn-killed-to-protect-Muslims.html. Accessed 20 Oct 2018.
  52. Rehman, Javaid. 2007. War on terror and the future of Muslim minorities in the United Kingdom: dilemmas of multiculturalism in the aftermath of the London Bombings. Human Rights Quarterly 29 (4): 831–878.Google Scholar
  53. Runciman, David. 2015. The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Smale, Alison. 2014. In German city rich with history and tragedy, tide rises against immigration. New York Times, 12/7/2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/08/world/in-german-city-rich-with-history-and-tragedy-tide-rises-against-immigration.html. Accessed 23 Oct 2018.
  55. Saeed, Saim. 2017. Dutch coalition talks have failed, says official: The parties could not agree on a joint migration policy, POLICITO, 5/15/2017. https://www.politico.eu/article/dutch-coalition-talks-failed-says-official-edith-schippers-mark-rutte/. Accessed 09 Oct 2018.
  56. Sen, Amartya. 2012. The crisis of Western European democracy, International Herald Tribune, 24/05/2012. https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1P2-36285962/the-crisis-of-european-democracy. Accessed 09 Oct 2018.
  57. Sheikhzadegan, Amir, and Michael Nollert. 2017. Religion, the public sphere, and identity politics: how a radical Muslim organization defies the populist right in Switzerland. European Societies 19 (16): 1–25.Google Scholar
  58. Thomas, Andrea. 2015. Angela Merkel, CSU’s Horst Seehofer Clash over German Policy for Migrants, Wall Street Journal, 11/20/2015. https://www.wsj.com/articles/angela-merkel-csus-horst-seehofer-clash-over-german-policy-for-migrants-1448045949 Accessed 23 Oct 2018.
  59. Townsend, Mark. 2006. Leak reveals official story of London bombings. The Observer,4/9/2006. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/apr/09/july7.uksecurity. Accessed 22 Oct 2018.
  60. Weaver, Matthew. 2010. Angela Merkel: German multiculturalism has “utterly failed”, The Guardian, 10/17/2010. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/oct/17/angela-merkel-german-multiculturalism-failed. Accessed 23 Oct 2018.
  61. Winter, Elke. 2010. Trajectories of multiculturalism in Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. Search of Common Patterns, Government & Opposition 45 (2): 166–186.Google Scholar
  62. Ye, Jiang. 2018. Qianxi 2017 Nian Jiatailuoniya Duli Shijian Zhi Jingshi (Tentative analysis of the warning given by the Catalan independence referendum in 2017), Xueshujie (Academics), No. 1, January 2018: 67–75.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Fudan University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations