© 2012

Political Extremism in Democracies

Combating Intolerance

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Table of contents

About this book


When political 'extremists' - organized into parties that compete openly and successfully in democratic elections - enter the conventional institutional arena, how do mainstream actors react? This book deals with understanding how democracies respond to party-based extremism and with what consequences.


Democratic election elections extremism Institution

About the authors

WILLIAM M. DOWNS Associate Dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, an Associate Professor of Political Science, and the co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy at Georgia State University, USA. He is the author of Coalition Government, Subnational Style: Multiparty Politics in Europe's Regional Parliaments and has published research articles on political parties, electoral behavior, legislative institutions, and extremism in such journals as Parliamentary Affairs, West European Politics, Electoral Studies, Government & Opposition, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Contemporary Politics, and Perspectives on European Politics and Society. Downs has held a Fulbright research fellowship in Belgium, been a research fellow at Harvard University's Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and served as a visiting faculty member at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Bibliographic information


"Downs offers an original perspective on a classic yet timely paradox faced by liberal democracies: the degree to which the political system should tolerate parties that are not themselves tolerant of political or social pluralism. While the empirical examples are focused on extremist parties in Europe, the conceptual framework clearly extends beyond these particular cases to both fledgling and established democracies." - Benjamin Bowyer, Civic Engagement Research Group, Mills College