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Exclusion, Community, and a Populist Political Economy: The Radical Right as an Anti-Globalization Movement

Abstract

This article examines the anti-globalization message of three radical right populist parties: the Austrian Freedom Party, the French National Front, and the Italian Lega Nord. Anti-globalization movements have received much attention as of late from social scientists and journalists alike. However, one anti-globalization force that has not received adequate scholarly attention is the radical right. Since the 1990s, radical right parties have emerged as some of the strongest opponents of neo-liberalism, European integration, and immigration. Radical right parties campaign against the elite nature of globalization, arguing that financial and political elites, American hegemony, and the growing influence of the European Union destroy the natural fabric of civil society. The radical right also associates European integration with the forces of globalization and with a loss of national sovereignty. And finally, adopting La Nouvelle Droite's notion of the ‘right to difference’, radical right populist parties associate globalization with multiculturalism and with overly liberal immigration policies. The article then examines both survey data on European sentiments towards neo-liberalism, European integration, and immigration and public opinion polls that highlight the reason why voters support radical right parties. I argue that if we closely scrutinize the reasons why voters support radical right parties, keeping in mind how these same parties frame the issue of globalization, it becomes clear how and why the political message of radical right parties resonates with a small but significant portion of the electorate who demonstrate apprehension towards economic globalization, European integration, and immigration.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. I would also like to thank Phil Triadafilopoulos for his comments on earlier drafts.

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Zaslove, A. Exclusion, Community, and a Populist Political Economy: The Radical Right as an Anti-Globalization Movement. Comp Eur Polit 6, 169–189 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110126

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Keywords

  • radical right populism
  • anti-globalization
  • Euro-skepticism
  • immigration
  • xenophobia
  • European integration