Nov 102013
 

Sometimes, things take a teeny-weeny bit longer. Thanks to a student asking for it, I realised that I had failed to deposit replication data for Liz Carter’s and my 2006 EJPR piece on the POS/Extreme Right nexus. This has been rectified.

Arzheimer, Kai; Carter, Elisabeth, 2013, “Replication data for: Political Opportunity Structures and Right-Wing Extremist Party Success”, doi:10.7910/DVN/23280 UNF:5:zWdBbOEjWqbNoUiRlLTKwg== Harvard Dataverse Network [Distributor] V2

The data, which cover Western Europe during the 1984-2001 period, are now obviously of historical interest in more than one sense. The micro information is drawn from a host of national election studies (this was before the ESS) that were lovingly harmonised under the auspices of EREPS. Clearly, those were the days. But hey, according to Google Scholar, this still attracted 25 citations in 2013 and is my second-most cited piece overall. More importantly, I’m still rather happy with it.

If you are interested and don’t have access to the EJPR, our pre-publication version is here.

Nov 082013
 

Slides (in German) for a talk I gave at the University of Zurich on the idea of a European set of value priorities. While preferences are very similar across Europe, with universalism and benevolence coming out top and self-enhancement ranking low, security is crucial for the post-communist societies in Central & Eastern Europe. I further claim that this finding is not driven by economic disparities. This is an update to and extension of my chapter on the notion of a European community of shared values. Somewhat ironically, the preliminary results from the 2012 wave of the ESS were published on the day I gave that talk, so I should go back to the drawing board soon.

Jun 202013
 
Turnout in Western Europe, 1945-2012
turnout eu 15 300x200 Turnout in Western Europe: Down and Down We Go

Turnout in the EU-15 countries, 1945-2012 (click for a larger view)

While writing a chapter for a textbook, I felt the need to fill half a page with a little illustrative graph. So I headed over to IDEA’s very useful voter turnout database, downloaded the stats for the EU-15 group of countries and ran them through Stata. No surprises here, but still just a little bit chilling?

Apr 282013
 
Diliff / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Thanks to colleague Kyriaki Nanou and the generosity of the Anglo-German Programme, I’m taking my paper on the election between the Centre Left and the Extreme Right for the working class vote to Academic Wonderland (TM). Needless to say that I’m looking forward to this in the extreme (pun intended, but I largely failed?). Click here to read the full paper on “Working Class Parties 2.0? Competition between the Centre Left and the Extreme Right in Western Europe“.

radcliffe camera oxford oct 2006 Workers, the Centre Left and the Extreme Right
Academic DisneyDiliff / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Jan 282013
 

Radical Right buffs out there, have you submitted your paper proposal for Bordeaux yet? As you may or may not know, Liz Carter and I have put together a six-panel-section on the New Right for the 7th ECPR General Conference in September. The deadline is February 1, i.e. in just four days – submit your proposal now if you are interested at all (requires myECPR registration).

Extreme Right and Ethnic Politics in Eastern Europe
Radical politics is an enduring feature of democratic party competition in contemporary democracies across the globe. This panel will seek to advance our understanding of radical right politics by focusing on the relationship between ethnic minorities and radical right parties within the region of Eastern Europe. The panel will bring together a group of scholars from various sub-fields of the discipline to examine the roots and consequences of political polarisation and right wing extremism.
Radical/Extreme Right Party Ideology, Strategy and Organisation
Radical and/or extreme right political parties continue to be the focus of much media attention and academic research. Of course, the success of (some of) these parties in recent elections in large part explains the interest they arouse and the coverage they receive. But if we scratch a little deeper and start asking questions about why parties of this kind continue to post impressive electoral results in many countries, along with the context in which they compete, we must turn to examining the parties themselves. And if we do, we can start to notice changes in ideology, in strategy, and/or in organization, as evidenced, for example, by the French FN’s apparently moderated ideology, or by Marine Le Pen’s strategy to ‘open up’ the French right, or by Geert Wilders’ efforts to build up the PVV organization. Therefore, given their importance, this panel will focus on the parties of the ‘New Right’ themselves, and invites papers that examine extreme/radical right party ideology, strategy, and/or organization. We would like to encourage both conceptual papers and empirical papers that engage in comparative analysis
The Eurozone Crisis and the Radical Right
This panel will consider whether – and if so, in what ways – the onset of the economic and Eurozone crises have enhanced or hindered political opportunities for the radical and extreme right-wing in Europe. This includes: reactions to the bail-outs and European political institutions; the role of Euroscepticism in radical right party campaigns, discourse and electoral outcomes; and the broader response of European electorates to the crisis, and their receptiveness or otherwise to radical right politics. The panel organisers are especially interested in papers that draw on innovative methodological approaches, are anchored in comparative analysis, and that consider both demand- and supply-side factors.
The New Right and the 'Squeezed Middle': Service Sector Vulnerability and Populist Appeal
Many explanations of populist New Right appeal have focused upon the role of economic insecurity as a motivation for supporting parties with exclusionary economic and social policies that target ‘true’ nationals over immigrants and other outgroups. The classic economic argument applied to countries such as France and Belgium finds blue-collar workers, as well as routine non-manual employees, attracted by populist New Right parties’ welfare chauvinism, moving away from the traditional Socialist and Social Democratic parties and class encapsulation. A sector argument finds public-sector employees in protected positions less open to such appeals than private counterparts open to external competition. However, the blue-collar group represents a shrinking proportion of European societies’ workforce and by extension electorate, and thus a decreasingly attractive target pool for entrepreneurial populist parties. Instead, through public-sector downsizing as well as decreased competitiveness, the current economic crisis threatens as much public-sector and service workers, still from routine non-manual but potentially to a growing extent from lower cadre / managerial positions. Whilst educational attainment has previously acted as a block on potential support for ethnocentric and xenophobic parties amongst these groups, the evolution of many of these parties’ positions to campaign more on anti-Islamist rather than traditional racist tenets may mean that these parties can appeal to the now economically vulnerable ‘squeezed middle’ in a way that was untenable in the past. This panel welcomes papers, either case-study or comparative, which look at the empirical manifestations of this dynamic, in particular how support bases for populist New Right parties have changed across time, socially and attitudinally. Papers should ideally use electoral or public opinion survey data, if developing micro-explanations, or census and workforce employment data for meso- and macro-approaches. Papers should not deal exclusively with theoretical or descriptive discussions of party ideology, or political economy explanations of insecurity.
The Populist Voter
Why do people vote for populist parties? The extant literature is inconclusive on why citizens do so. Some scholars argue that people vote for populists because they agree with the ideology of these parties. Other scholars claim that populist voters are mainly driven by political dissatisfaction: they vote for populist parties because they are unhappy with the established political order. Also, it has been argued that voters primarily vote for these parties because of their charismatic leaders. We welcome papers that focus on these or other motivations to vote for populist parties. Moreover, we are also interested in factors that might impact on the populist vote choice, such as party system characteristics, the state of the economy, or socio-demographic variables such as education, income, age, gender and religiosity. We accept qualitative and quantitative papers on right-wing populism, left-wing populism or both.
The Radical Right in the Post-Communist Context: New Perspectives on an Old Phenomenon
Abstract:
The recent electoral performance of radical right parties in Central and Eastern Europe seems to confirm the pervasive appeal of these parties across the whole European space. To a varying extent, radical right parties in post-communist countries resemble a phenomenon sui generis, perhaps due to their historical legacies and/or the idiosyncrasies of their context. Parties such as Ataka in Bulgaria or Jobbik in Hungary list as recent examples of this, yet research says little about the commonalities and differences of these parties vis-à-vis similar parties in Western Europe. In brief, new perspectives are needed to assess this phenomenon in context.

This panel aims to bring together papers on radical right parties in Central and Eastern Europe, their voters, and/or their interaction. Papers that investigate the radical right in the region conceptually, empirically, and/or comparatively are solicited. Prominence will be given to contributions addressing the ideology of these parties; their organisation; their political opportunity structure; and those explaining their electoral performance. Papers employing new data and bridging qualitative and quantitative traditions will be especially welcome, but papers using either qualitative or quantitative methods will certainly be considered.

 

Jan 132013
 

Every now and then, I spend a merry evening pulling half-forgotten manuscripts/preprints into this not-so-new website. So here is tonight’s potpourri:

 

May 182012
 

As some of you might have noticed, I have recently made some changes to my site. The idea was to simplify its administration and to streamline its design. Predictably, the only thing that really took off was the number of 404 errors. To quote the central theorem of policy analysis, all innovations make things worse, always. To repeat the mantra of system administration, never change a running system. Never.

But (and this is a big but) I have finally managed to revive the Extreme Right Bibliography after a mere week of tinkering, and have thrown in a few new titles for good measure. As always, comments and additions are most welcome. Enjoy!

Jan 212012
 

Just finished my long-overdue review of David Art‘s latest book on Radical Right for West European Politics. I wonder how he survived those 140 interviews physically and mentally intact.

David Art: Inside the Radical Right. Cambridge University Press 2011. 288 pages, GBP 60 (Hardback)

Over the last thirty years, the Radical Right has established itself as a relevant player in many European political systems. Parties that are variously labelled as ‘extreme’, ‘populist’ or ‘anti-immigrant’ right are the subject of intense political and scientific scrutiny.

Perhaps one of the most striking facts about these parties is that electoral support for them varies so much over time and across political systems: some never get beyond the groupuscule stage, some are like the proverbial flash in the pan, while others are relatively stable over long periods and might even make or break governments. This empirical puzzle is the starting point for David Art’s latest book.

His is a contribution to the growing literature that focuses on the so-called ‘supply side’ of radical right politics. More specifically, Art claims that (collective) agency and structural factors interact to bring about radical right success or failure. Building on an argument whose intellectual lineage he traces back to Kitschelt and Downs, Art develops a simple yet useful typology of party activists by distinguishing between extremists, opportunists, and moderates, with the latter two groups being essential for a given party’s electoral success and organisational survival.

According to Art, structural factors, historical legacies and the initial reaction (permissive or repressive) to the new organisation determine how many and what type of activists will join. This mix, alongside with other factors such as the organisational abilities and other resources of the party founder(s) will shape the initial trajectory of the fledgling party.

While this causal mechanism may seem credible, it is obviously next to impossible to test the validity of the argument rigorously. Art responds to this challenge with a stupendous series of comparative case studies that go far beyond similar work on the Radical Right that has been done in the past. In four chapters, he traces the development of more than 20 radical right parties in ten Western European countries, trying to identify patterns that square with his assumptions. While few of his findings are completely new – after all, research on the radical right is a minor industry in political science and sociology – his expositions are very well structured and closely tied to the theoretical argument.

What sets the book apart, however, is the fact that large parts of it are based on not less than 140 interviews Art conducted with radical right party activists. Anyone who has ever worked in that field will know that getting and conducting even a single interview with a radical right activist is a formidable problem on more than one level, making Art’s feat all the more remarkable. Although these interviews are hardly unbiased and reliable sources, Art uses his unique material to give a nuanced account of the Radical Right’s internal dynamics. While the author’s determination to stick to his research design is laudable, one cannot help the feeling that there must be a whole host of more traditional books (on single parties or countries) waiting to be written on the basis of his notes.

Without doubt, Art’s book is an important and potentially controversial contribution that will refresh the sometimes slightly stale debate on causes of the differential success of the Radical Right. Its strict focus on the role of party activists (and elites outside the party) is both a strength and weakness. The real future challenge for the discipline will be to integrate the findings from party studies with the results from the literature on voter behaviour.