Back in March 2018, the Montreal Holocaust Museum invited me to an expert panel that they were organising as part of their Action Week against Racism. The topic: the resurgence of aggressive right-wing politics in Europe. Speaking on this issue, at this institution, was both poignant and humbling. Here are my slides.
Blog posts on the Extreme Right
The Extreme Right (or Radical Right, New Right, Populist Right) is one of my main research interests. Here is a collection of blog posts on the Extreme Right (i.e. parties, voters, policies) that I have written over the years. If this is relevant for you, you might also be interested in the 400+ titles bibliography on the Extreme Right that I maintain and in this page, which summarises much of my work on the Extreme Right.
Spring is the new winter
A mere four months ago I asked you to send me your favourites for the autumn/winter edition of the ever popular Extreme Right bibliography, and send you did – so many references that it took me a bit longer than expected, and now it’s time for the spring edition. But since it is still cold outside, this problem’s solved. Sort of. So here it is: the latest edition of the Eclectic, Erratic Bibliography on the Extreme Right in Western Europe
118 new titles
Last year’s update was big (117 new titles), but this year’s update is bigger (118). I’m not making this up, it’s a simple, strange coincidence. And most of the new titles are, well, new.
There are even 13 titles that were published in 2018. With online first publications (a good thing in itself) that are turned into “real” (who reads printed journals?) articles much later, keeping track of publication years and page numbers is not a fun exercise. Speaking of not having fun: Is anyone publishing these things ever thinking of the poor sods who have to/want to read all this?
The article rules, OK?
Books are so long. Book chapters are still long, but more fun: people actually have the space to develop an idea, or to give a proper, detailed overview. But in most departments, neither counts for much, and we all have little time and so much to read. Here’s the result:
Kids, don’t do books.
The top ten journals
Which brings me to my final point: What are the ten most important (or rather most prominent) journals for scholars of the Radical/Extreme Right? Not much has changed since I ran this analysis for the first time in October 2016. The European Journal of Political Research and West European Politics are still leading the pack. Acta Politica and Party Politics have swapped places and there are some other minor adjustments. Political Psychology has pushed Government and Opposition out of the top ten, but Government and Opposition is hovering in the eleventh spot, so again, no big change here
|Journal||No. of articles|
|European Journal of Political Research||46|
|West European Politics||43|
|Comparative European Politics||14|
|Patterns of Prejudice||13|
|Comparative Political Studies||12|
Once more, I’m wondering if we as profession are wasting too much time and resources on these parties. At the same time, I’m eagerly waiting for the printed edition of the Oxford Handbook on the Radical Right, have wasted some more time and resources on creating a little twitter bot that promotes the fruit of our labours, and wonder if, how, and why I could text mine all those PDFs that I have collected over the years. Go figure.
I’m still collecting references for the next iteration of the Extreme Right Bibliography (but I am almost there. Honest to God. Really). Meanwhile, while I should have probably been doing other things, I’ve brushed up my fairly rudimentary R skills and taught myself how to write a similarly rudimentary twitterbot.
If you are reading this, the chances that you are interested in the Radical/Extreme/Etc Right are high. If you also happen to be on twitter, you will want to follow the Radical Right Research Robot for all sorts of serendipitous insights, e.g. that reference to the article you always suspected exists but were to shy to ask about.
And if that does not appeal, it has a cutesy profile pic. So follow it (him? her?). Resistance is futile.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Political Science suffers from generational cycles of collective amnesia. For obvious reasons, (right-wing) populism is a hot topic again, and mature colleagues (cough) may bemoan the fact that they have seen it all before (at least twice). Let them moan. The wheel does get a little better each time round. This winter has brought us not one, not two, but (almost)
three four five six Special Issues on the topic:
- Politics and Governance has a brand new Special Issue: Populism and the Remaking of (Il)Liberal Democracy in Europe. Six articles, one editorial, and it’s all Open Access.
- The European Journal of Political Research has put together a Virtual Special Issue on populism. It brings together twelve articles – classics as well as new-ish publications- that have appeared in the Journal over the last decade.
- If that is not enough for your (slightly pervy) taste, the Swiss Political Review has just published their Special Issue on Populist Mobilization Across Time and Space, which boast twelve article and an invited review.
- Still reading? European Political Science have a mini symposium on Populist Discourses and Political Communication in Southern Europe in their online first section. So far, four articles have appeared there.
Have we reached peak populism? Not yet, because here is more:
- Update (January 26). The Journal of Language and Politics was a new one to me. They seem to publish lots of interesting stuff, including their resent SI on the language of Right-Wing Populism in Europe and the US. Twelve more articles for your reading list.
- Update January 29: And…. another one. Government and Opposition have updated their virtual SI on populism, and it’s YUGE! It’s also all open-accessed for the occasion.
- Update January 29: They keep coming in: Democratization had a SI on Dealing with Populists in Government (in 2016 already, but this does not get old).
- Update January 29: As people keep sending me references, I realise that I have unleashed a beast 😉 The Czech Journal of Political Science published a SI on Populism and its Impact on the Political Landscape. It’s short (just three articles and an editorial) but looks interesting nonetheless.
Women don’t like the AfD (and why would they?)
The AfD is not particularly attractive for women. Survey data suggest that only one in three AfD voters is a woman. The new national executive has 14 memebers. Just two are of the female persuasion. This amounts to a cool 14%, even less than the female share of the AfD’s total membership (16%). The share of female AfD MPs in the new Bundestag is yet again lower at just over ten per cent, half of the already very low figures for the Liberals and the Christian Democrats.
This is hardly surprising. While some Radical Right parties in Western Europe parties at least aim to give the impression that they have modernised their stances on gender politics (cf the Netherlands, Norway), the AfD’s radicalisation over the last three years has brought them closer to traditional right-wing positions (see e.g. Jasmin Siri’s work on this), or perhaps these positions have become more visible.
Sex and loathing
Two “cheeky” 2017 campaign posters marked a new low on this front. One showed the behinds of a pair of scantily clad young women who allegedly “preferred Bikinis over Burqas“, the other used a picture of a massive baby bump to cajole Germans into “making new Germans instead of relying on immigration” (incidentally, the belly in question came from a stock photo of a Brazilian model).
This is the cutesy version of Höcke’s rambling about the “expansive African fertility type” that threatens to take over Germany. The obsession with the number of pure-blooded German babies and the means of their production, the Muslim as a sexual predator, the fear (and envy?) of the hyper-sexual Black that will take away our blonde daughters, wifes, and mistresses – the nice middle class veneer over the familiar right-wing extremist tropes is wearing pretty thin.
Female Facebook Friends
The AfD does not have an officially recognised women’s organisation. But a couple of weeks ago, Christiane Christen (the AfD deputy leader in Rhineland-Palatinate) and Janin Klatt-Eberle, a rank-and-file member from Saxony, have set up a Facebook community called “AfD-politics for women“. So far, some 600 people have liked it.
The page is not meant to co-ordinate or strengthen the positions of women within the AfD (where did that thought come from?). Its mission statement says that it will serve “to explain the AfD’s policies with respect to us women”, because the AfD is the only party that defends liberty and security for women. Hm.
The posts far, are what you would expect. They exploit the New Year’s Eve attacks on women in Cologne in 2015 and a recent jealousy killing where the perpetrator was a youth from Afghanistan and the victim an equally young German girl. They are similar to what can be found on the AfD’s official channels, but executed in a much more amateurish way. What really surprised me, however, even giving that level of amateurishness, was their logo, a – variation? – on the party’s official and already awkward design. This 👇
In my book, this beggars belief, so I preserve it for posterity here before they change it. I’m old enough to qualify as a dirty old man, so I just summarise the gist of the comments on the page:
- No money for a designer? Seriously?
- Pitch-perfect illustration of the party’s gender politics
- This must be a satirical page.
It’s not. It’s real.
Bonus track, because it is almost 2018: Link to one of my favourite older posts on a related subject.
- One of the best (and most depressing) articles on Trump I’ve read so far: “Inside Trump’s Hour-by-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation”
- If you learnt R as a grad student and if that was some time ago (cough), here is help to get you started on the new ways of doing things in R
- To further drive this home, here is a quick and only slightly dirty analysis of the Weinstein effect in newspaper reporting using tidytext
- What remains of the traditional French centre-right after Macron is poaching on the Front National. Art Goldhammer nails it.
- Meanwhile, the Front National is once more in hot water over the misuse of EU funds.
The autumn/winter edition of the ever more Eclectic, ridiculously Erratic Bibliography on the Extreme Right in Western Europe is
overdue well on its way, and it’s gonna be YUGE! Make it even YUGEr by sending me your candidates (books, chapters, journal articles) for inclusion. The geographical focus remains on (Western) Europe, but I am also interested in general (e.g. conceptual, methodological, psychological etc.) right-wing stuff. Self nominations are welcome. Obviously, no guarantee for inclusion whatsoever. If you have a DOI and/or a well-formatted bibtex entry, that’s spiffy, but as long as the reference is complete, I’m not too fussed about the format. Put your reference(s) in a comment right here, send me an email (kai.arzheimer AT gmail.com), DM me, or leave a comment on the Facebook page.
At today’s AfD conference, Jörg Meuthen has been reelected as one of the the two co-chairs of the party. Although there was no other candidate, he garnered only 72% “yes” votes. Meuthen was once promoted by Petry because of his convenient market liberal profile, but quickly became friendly with the more radical elements.
The election of the second co-chair was a more interesting affair. Apparently, the leadership had agreed that Georg Pazderski (leader of the Berlin chapter), an alleged moderate and pragmatist, should get the job. But at the conference, a surprise competitor emerged: Doris von Sayn-Wittgenstein, party chair in Schleswig-Holstein, who had only joined the party when it began to radicalise after Lucke’s departure as leader and vehemently opposes any rapprochement with the powers that be. In two ballots, the vote was split almost equally between the two, but neither reached the 50% quorum.
After a break, both withdrew their candidacy, and Alexander Gauland, eminence grise and leader of the the AfD’s parliamentary Party emerged as the new and only candidate. He received a mere 68% “yes” votes. Gauland is an interesting figure. Once a long-term CDU member and career Beamter in Hesse, he became a conservative newspaper editor and then one of the founding members of the AfD.
Late in life (he is in his mid-70s), he turned out to be a populist who regularly toys with Islamophobia and racism. He has repeatedly used his considerable influence within the party to defend Höcke and his cronies. He has also repeatedly ruled out that he could become party leader, citing his poor health and advanced age. Now his double role makes him arguably the most powerful (co-) leader the AfD has ever had. While Pazderski’s defeat and the poor results for Meuthen and Gauland highlight the fault lines within the AfD, Gauland’s rise to the two top offices is further evidence for the growing influence of the party’s ultra right.
At the tender age of 84, Ian Wachtmeister has died. In the early 1990s, he co-founded New Democracy, a short-lived and at times rather entertaining Swedish Radical Right outfit. Wachtmeister’s Wikipedia bio is here. Later in life (quite late in his case), he was somewhat close to the Sweden Democrats.
The Wikipedia article on New Democracy is also quite interesting (for us nerds). Even better, Jens Rydgren has put a PDF of his 2005 book on New Democracy on the interwebs. In the original Swedish, of course.