Can Protest be Programmatic? a Comparative Analytical Framework of Anti-Establishment Party Supply Across Europe

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - G466 (University of Glasgow)
Bartek Pytlas , Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
In recent years, European democracies have seen not only the rise, but also programmatic diversification of anti-establishment political supply. Next to "old" anti-establishment parties, both in Western as well as Central and Eastern Europe multiple new political actors on the left, right, or "center" have emerged that enhance "classical" anti-elite resentment with various claims to re-design the political mainstream and contemporary representative democracies (Podemos in Spain, M5S in Italy, Kukiz15 in Poland, ANO 2011 in the Czech Republic, or the AfD in Germany).

This contribution aims to propose a single analytical framework that allows to explore the increasingly diverse character of anti-establishment political supply in a comparative European perspective. Accounting for the context of emerging discursive opportunity structures, the paper re-evaluates existing conceptualizations and typologies of anti-establishment political agency and extends the analytical focus beyond the usual perspective of left, right, or center ideological profile of anti-establishment party supply. Instead, it is argued that these parties additionally offer a multifaceted array of prognostic frames that aim to relegitimize mainstream politics and representative democracy. This allows anti-establishment actors to pursue new strategies of issue entrepreneurship, combining classical issues on the left-right continuum with specific counter-representative narratives. Next to discussing the typology of these various "programs of protest", the paper discusses the potential influence of this dimension of party supply on the propensity to mobilize different types of dissatisfied voters. The proposed analytical framework hence contributes to a broad comparative understanding of the changing and multifaceted shape of anti-establishment politics across Europe.