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 in Western Europe, 1945-2012

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
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/Extreme Right Party Ideology, Strategy and Organisation
The Eurozone Crisis and the Radical Right
The New Right and the 'Squeezed Middle': Service Sector Vulnerability and Populist Appeal
The Populist Voter
The Radical Right in the Post-Communist Context: New Perspectives on an Old Phenomenon

 

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.