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Far Right Political Actors in Europe (October 2019): Comparative Studies

by Simeon Mitropolitski

Comparative Studies

The comparative approach in social sciences analyzes phenomena in cross-national context. It provides answers to research questions that are scientifically rigorous without using experimental methods, which are difficult to design and even more difficult to execute in social sciences. Thus, the Far Right phenomenon can be presented in its pure conceptual form, freed from both local and secondary particularities.

The Rise of the Far Right in Europe: Populist Shifts and Othering,’ edited by Gabriella Lazaridis, Giovanna Campani, and Annie Benveniste, presents the rise of Far Right parties in eight European countries. Each of these countries is an object of special analysis. Together, they illustrate different elements of Far Right political phenomenon, centred on the construction of racial, ethnic, and gender barriers.

Radical Right Movement Parties in Europe, edited by Manuela Caiani and Ondřej Cisař, focuses mainly on typical characteristics of the main drivers for the rise of the Far Right in Europe, the radical movement parties. Comparing twelve European countries, contributors discuss ways of interaction between two different types of political organization, movement and party. In a similar comparative approach, Trouble on the Far Right, edited by Maik Fielitz and Laura Lotte Laloire, presents a multitude of Far-Right strategies in several countries across the European continent.

Shifting the focus from material and organizational facts toward cultural issues, Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe, edited by Andrea Mammone, Emmanuel Godin and Brian Jenkins, comparatively presents driving Far Right ideas and areas in which they can be observed, e.g., music, sport, and internet.

The Cold War divide of Europe, which lasted until the end of the 1980s, makes some researchers more careful when it comes to broad generalizations. For this reason, many authors prefer to analyze Far Right political phenomena in the context of either Western Europe or the former communist states. Paul Hainsworth belongs to this group of researchers. In The Extreme Right in Western Europe, he discusses the significance, circumstances, and nature of Far Right recent successes in Western Europe. Even more geographically limited is the zoom of Eirikur Bergman, who discusses the causes of national populist politics in Nordic Nationalism and Right Wing Populist Politics: Imperial Relationships and National Sentiments. Another example of this regional comparison is the book by Paul Hockenos Free to Hate: The Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe, in which the author describes the development of the political Far Right in the context of newly established liberal democratic systems.