161 Away from the Mainstream: European Populism after the Great Recession

Thursday, July 13, 2017: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
JWS - Room J15 (J375) (University of Glasgow)
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, growing socio-economic unrest has coincided with the (re)emergence and expansion of populist political parties. On both sides of the political spectrum new or emboldened actors have started to challenge the legitimacy of mainstream parties or even the entire political system. The ‘disappearance’ of the PASOK in Greece and the rise of Syriza, the emergence of Podemos and Ciudadanos in Spain, the large popular support for the Five Star Movement in Italy, the French Front National and the success of Fidesz in Hungary are only some of the most striking example. While, several observers interpret this process a systemic risk for European democracies, others highlight potential positive side-effects: the challenge to austerity and ‘neoliberal party cartels’, the re-emergence of discernable party differences, and the political empowerment of alienated (and often economically disadvantaged) voters.

The starting point for the proposed panel is this, not yet well understood, ambiguity. The contributions will address from different perspectives, how economic change, societal transformations and the rise of populism are intertwined. This includes questions such as: how do populist right-wing parties position themselves on the socio-economic dimension? Can we expect a new competition for poor voters between the far left and the far right and, if yes, what are the consequences for party systems? Could populism, for instance, lead to more polarization and thereby to a better subjective representation of poor voters? What are the broader political and societal implications of mobilizing (or not) this previously ‘silent majority’?

Paul Marx
Discussant :
Paul Marx
The Rise of the Invisible Majority
Emanuele Ferragina, Sciences Po Paris; Alessandro Arrigoni, University of Oxford
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