The Two Faces of Radical Right-Wing Populism

  • Hans-Georg Betz

Abstract

One of the central points in the debate on the transformation of political behavior in advanced Western democracies has been the argument that modern voters increasingly tend to privilege issue- and value-oriented forms of participation over ideology-oriented ones. In the past, political parties distinguished themselves from each other by offering to the voters competing conceptualizations of a future ideal society and the different ways to get there. In the “postmodern” present, where the ideological foundations of the modern age are fundamentally questioned, and where idealism has largely been displaced by skepticism, ideology appears to have given way to a pragmatism of common sense. Populist parties are generally held to lack grand visions or comprehensive ideological projects. Instead, they are presumed to appeal to the common sense of the common people, seek to divine the mood swings of an increasingly volatile electorate, and shape their political programs accordingly. It seems then hardly surprising that radical right-wing populist parties have been relatively successful in attracting significant electoral support among the growing number of disenchanted and skeptical voters more interested in voicing their grievances than in evaluating alternative approaches to solving pressing societal problems.

Keywords

Migration Economic Crisis Europe Transportation Income 

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Notes

  1. 12.
    Bengt Ericson, “Jag kan tänka mig en fusion med KDS,” Veckans Affärer March 24, 1993, p. 27.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    Andreas Mölzer, “Tragödie der Multikultur,” Neue Freie Zeitung May 13, 1992, p. 7.Google Scholar
  3. 28.
    Front National, “Immigration: 50 mesures concretes—Les Français ont la parole,” flier, 1992.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hans-Georg Betz 1994

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  • Hans-Georg Betz

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