035 Left, Right, or Wrong? The (Ir)Relevance of the Left-Right Continuum in Analysis of Party Politics in Europe Today.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
WMP Yudowitz Seminar Room 1 (University of Glasgow)
Ever since the French Revolution, the Left-Right continuum has been universally applied in analysis of political systems in industrial democracies, even if the actual meaning of the Left and Right concepts might have been country-specific and changing over time.  However, its universality has been recently questioned, mostly in the context of political developments in post-communist East-Central Europe.  Parties with a strong Rightist self-identification advocate social policies that traditionally have been the province of the radical Left (e.g. PiS in Poland), while parties of the Left opt in favor of exclusivist policies typical of the Right (e.g. SMER in Slovakia).  Observes are often unable to place new parties or movements on the Left-Right continuum, while those emergent entities are themselves unwilling to do so (e.g. ANO in Czechia, Kukiz ’15 in Poland).  In Poland the opposite ends on the main axis of party competition are occupied by parties labeled as Rightist (PiS vs. PO), while the Left has been effectively marginalized (as happened in Hungary too). The populism vs. liberalism cleavage may be better suited to analysis of these two and other cases than the Left-Right divide. Yet the empirical research indicates that the Left-Right continuum remains a strong predictor of voting behavior there.  The five papers gathered for this panel address these issues in different ways, from comparative cross-national perspectives to single-polity case studies (Czechia, Poland).
Krzysztof Jasiewicz
Discussant :
Krzysztof Jasiewicz
Populism in Eastern Europe: Beyond Left and Right
Lenka Bustikova, Arizona State University
Values, Economy, Historical Legacies, Populism – the Left-Right Dimension in Polish Politics after Communism.
Mikołaj Cześnik, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw
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