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The Populist Radical Right in Western Europe: Ideology and Agenda Impact on International Issues

The present thesis deals with the populist radical right (PRR) parties in contemporary Western Europe, a phenomenon which in recent years has been attracting a great deal of attention in both public and academic debate. This work has two paramount goals: conceptualizing and empirically assessing the common ideological fabric of these parties, and studying the political consequences of these parties at agenda-setting level for international policy issues. To this purpose, two main research questions will be evaluated here. First, I will investigate whether PRR parties indeed share a common ideological make-up combining nativism, authoritarianism and populism. Second, I will try to demonstrate that PRR can have a profound impact on the systemic agenda concerning issues of international relevance, like immigration and the EU. More specifically, the proposition will be tested that this type of impact is not necessarily determined by a single variable like the electoral presence of a PRR party on the electoral arena, but it is rather shaped by a set of dynamic variables and strategic considerations of the competing parties. In order to address this question, I will lay out a set of hypotheses concerning patterns of agenda-setting influence (also known as indirect policy impact) of PRR parties on their mainstream contenders. These hypotheses will be then tested in a single case study dealing with the impact of UKIP on the immigration and the EU agenda in the UK from 2005 to 2016. The inquiry will reveal that a broader set of variables concur to explain the trajectories of parties’ programmatic changes in response to a PRR contender. Likewise, it will be shown that parties’ agency is crucial as that they do not respond to electoral threats of PRR parties uniformly. Their behavior on the electoral arena is rather shaped by their contingent set of strategic incentives, and the nature of the issue at stake.

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1 1. Introduction The present thesis deals with populist radical right (PRR) parties in contemporary Western Europe, a phenomenon which has been attracting an increasing amount of attention in both public and academic debate. The thesis has two paramount goals: conceptualizing and empirically assessing the common ideological fabric of these parties, and studying the political consequences of these parties at agenda-setting level. Two main research questions will be evaluated here. First, I will investigate whether PRR parties indeed share a common ideological make-up combining nativism, authoritarianism and populism. Second, I will try to demonstrate that PRR can have a profound impact on the systemic agenda concerning issues of international relevance, like immigration and the EU. More specifically, the proposition will be tested that this type of impact is not automatically determined by a single variable like the electoral weight of a PRR (Green-Pedersen & Krogsdrup 2008), but it is rather shaped by a set of dynamic variables and strategic considerations of the competing parties. In order to answer this question, I will lay out a set of hypotheses concerning the patterns of agenda- setting influence (also indirect policy impact) of PRR parties on their mainstream contenders. These hypotheses will be then tested in a single case study dealing with the impact of UKIP on the immigration and EU agenda in the UK from 2005 to 2015. PRR parties are today extremely relevant as they raise a whole set of questions on the future path taken by liberal democracy in the countries where they have seen their support surge in the last few decades. Most studies on the PRR have focused on the major factors accounting for the extraordinary electoral growth of these parties, which has allowed them, in countries such as Austria, Italy and Denmark, to exert considerable influence over policy outcomes (Betz 1994, Carter 2005, Norris 2005, Kitschelt 2007, Art 2011). These studies take into account sociological, class-based and attitudinal variables to explain the electoral support for PRR parties. Another field of research has instead focused on the major ideological characteristics of these parties. The idea behind this line of research is that the success of the PRR family has to do with their distinctive programmatic supply, namely the set of issues and policy preferences that they offer to the electorate (Mudde 2007, Rydgren 2007). In a context of declining class-based voting and decreasing salience of the traditional socioeconomic cleavage (Mair 2002), the idea is that parties can attract new voters by proposing issues which resonate highly with them (Kriesi 1999, Mair 2002, Mouffe 2005, Rydgren 2017). The present study builds on the second line of research, as it seeks to single

Tesi di Laurea Magistrale

Facoltà: Scienze Politiche

Autore: Andrea Conti Contatta »

Composta da 148 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 61 click dal 13/02/2018.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.