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Session Overview
RN32_07a: Examining Populism (I)
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Carlo Ruzza, University of Trento
Location: GM.338
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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The Populist Radical Right in Europe: A "Populist Post-Fascism"?

Dietmar Loch

Université de Lille, France

With the rise and the establishment of political parties such as the French Front or Rassemblement national, the Austrian FPÖ or the Hungarian Jobbik, the populist radical right has moved from the margins to the center of (not only) European politics and societies. More as a single issue movement against migration, this complex phenomenon has revealed its economic, cultural and political profile. Relative deprivation, cultural difference and political alienation have tried to explain it keeping cultural identity as political core and as success filter for this movement. Globalisation and denationalisation stressed this still more, when the radical right has reflected the economic, the migration and the “crisis” of democracy. Furthermore, cleavage theory underlined the social dynamics of nativist politics and allowed to compare national differences on a similar European background. Finally and terminologically, the renaissance of the extreme right after World War II met in its “third wave” populism and has recently transformed completely into this concept neglecting the ideological differences between its left-wing and its right-wing forms. Given this larger dimension of the radical right and of populism in space and in time, historical sociology will lead this proposal in order to analyse this phenomenon between national boundaries and globalization and between historical fascism and the renaissance of globalized forms of authoritarianism. Can the populist radical right be considered as a “populist post-fascism”?

Mapping Varieties of Populism in the United States and Europe

Kristinn Mar (Arsaelsson), Peter Ramand

University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States of America

This paper is the first to systematically map and compare how populist sentiment clusters in the electorates of the US and several European societies using Latent Class Analysis. We have completed analysis of the US (ANES 2016), and have conducted preliminary analysis of Germany (EVS 2017). We will extend the comparison to the UK, France, Sweden and other European countries after the EVS data release in July.

Conventional strategies for studying populist attitudes compare voters of populist and non-populist parties. This strategy is, however, less suitable for analysis of two party systems like the US and UK. The relational methodological strategy we adopt allows comparison of populist voters within and across parties. It also allows us to study the formation of populist clusters over time.

Building on recent theoretical innovations we operationalize Brubaker’s (2017) two-dimensional conceptualization of populism, measuring anti-elite sentiment, and attitudes regarding national membership.

In both the US and Germany, we find six analytically distinct classes, two of which are populist, comprising a third and 21% of the electorate respectively. In both cases the latent classes we identify are powerful predictors of a variety of social attitudes, and allow a series of interesting comparisons. For example, right-wing populists in the US are one of the most religious groups, however right populists in Germany are among the least religious. Additionally, there is little difference in policy preference between the populist and non-populist Republican clusters in the US. Rather the cleavage is primarily fueled by emotional rather than ideological factors.

The Impact Of Populist Attitudes On Electoral Behaviour. The Case Of The Czech Republic and Germany

Tomáš Dvořák

Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

The aim of the paper is to analyse the effect of populist attitudes on electoral behaviour. The existing research suggests that having populist attitude is a strong and significant predictor of electoral and voting behaviour. For example those, who hold populist attitudes are more likely to support and vote for populist parties. This finding has been demonstrated mainly in country specific studies with few analyses from comparative setting.

This paper focuses on the effect of populist values on vote choice in national elections in the Czech Republic; and to provide a reasonable comparison also in Germany. The empirical analysis s based on two data nationally representative sources: German post-election cross-sectional GLES and Czech survey on populist attitudes. Analysis shows that the effect of populist attitudes on party choice is not simple. In Germany populist attitudes are associated with vote for AfD, albeit only in Eastern Germany. In addition, in the Czech republic populist attitudes are associated with vote for right-wing populist SPD, but not with centrist populist ANO. In the case of ANO it is hypothesized that the effect is not significant either due to centrist nature of the party or due to the fact the party has been more than one electoral cycle in government, part of establishment which has mitigated the effect of populist attitudes.

The analysis thus demonstrates the effect of populist values on party choice, however, it also shows the effect is not universal/general and may be contingent on populist party ideological position (left, centrist, right) or whether populist party is in power. The paper contributes to the research of the effect of populism on electoral behaviour.

Islamic Populism and Popular Attitudes toward Syrian Asylum Seekers in Turkey

Kerem Morgul1, Osman Savaskan2

1University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States of America; 2Marmara University, Turkey

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) has made increasing use of populism in the past decade, pitting a virtuous Sunni Muslim majority against a secular, pro-Western elite who conspire against the rightful sovereignty of the pious people. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, JDP leaders have employed this populist frame in international affairs as well, claiming to represent all the oppressed Muslim peoples in the Middle East and beyond. In this way, they have established a “chain of equivalence” (Laclau 2005) between devout Muslims in different countries and constructed a collective identity—the “ummah”—that transcends the boundaries of the Turkish nation-state.

This paper scrutinizes the robustness of this pan-Islamic populist identity by analyzing popular attitudes toward the growing population of Syrian asylum seekers in Turkey. Our rationale is as follows: If JDP’s populist references to the universal brotherhood of a downtrodden ummah has genuine appeal, then the religious conservatives in Turkey should stand in solidarity with their Muslim brethren who are fleeing the repressive Assad regime.

To test whether this is the case, we use data from a nationally representative survey conducted in February 2016 with 2,647 Turkish citizens. Our results show that, compared with more secular citizens, religious conservatives are indeed less prejudiced toward Syrian asylum seekers. However, the effect of religious conservatism is modest and does not moderate the positive association between Turkish nationalism and anti-Syrian attitudes. Furthermore, economic insecurity is a major source of anti-Syrian attitudes among conservative citizens. Due to these reasons, coupled with the recent rise of nationalist fervor and economic instability in Turkey, anti-Syrian attitudes are widespread among all religious and political groups.

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