Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2010


Radical Right Politics in Western Europe

Lecturer: Professor Dr. Cas Mudde
Department of Political Science,
University of Antwerp, Belgium

Main disicplines: Political Science, Sociology

Dates: 26 - 30 July 2010
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants


Introduction
Since the end of World War II, and the defeat of the Nazi Third Reich, few political phenomena have commanded so much attention in western democracies as radical right politics. This has been particularly the case since the 1980s, when the so-called ‘third wave’ of the radical right hit the shores of (Western) Europe. Though radical right politics differs in many ways between countries, in and outside of Europe, there are few western countries were the extreme right is not regularly debated.

This course aims to introduce students to radical right politics in contemporary Europe. The course consists of three parts. In the first part a historical overview is presented of radical right politics in Europe. In the second part the radical right politics in contemporary Europe will be discussed, including the new post-communist countries. In the third and last part we will discuss various conceptual and theoretical issues concerning radical right politics in European democracies.

 

Prerequisites
This course does not require the student to have taken any other courses beforehand, but any courses in European modern history/politics/studies or on political parties will be helpful. Similarly, a basic knowledge of recent current events in European politics would be useful.

 

Course objectives
The objectives of the course are:

 

Basic Books on Radical Right Politics in Western Democracies
Students are adviced to buy (at least) the following text for this course:

Students who want to buy additional books for this course, for a broader basis and background, are best served with (one of) the following two books:

 

LECTURE OUTLINE

PART I: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES

Lecture 1:  Historical Perspectives: WW II, its Legacies, and the Radical Right
This class will discuss some key events in western postwar history, such as the founding of NATO, the division of Germany and Europe, the Cold War, the process of European integration, the fall of the Berlin Wall. Specific attention will be paid to the legacy of the Second World War and the role of radical right parties and politics in postwar political developments.

Compulsory readings:

 

Lecture 2: The Contemporary Radical Right: What and Who Are They? 
This class will address two key aspects of the study of the radical right: definition (what?) and categorization (who?). On the basis of a broad conceptual and theoretical framework we will be able to identify the core ideology and main representatives of the radical right party family. In addition, it will present a concise overview of the main debates in the study of the contemporary radical right in (Western) Europe. We will address, first and foremost, the so-called “third wave” of the radical right, i.e. the period since 1980.

Compulsory readings:

Optional readings:

 

PART II: COUNTRY PERSPECTIVES

Lecture 3:Germany & France
France and Germany are the two major powers of Continental Europe. Traditionally they have very different political systems and traditions. Both countries are generally associated with strong radical right politics, but have a very different structure of radical right mobilization.

Compulsory readings:

Optional readings:

 

Lecture 4: Austria & Italy
Austria and Italy are very different countries in many respects, if only because of the Germanic and Latin cultures. However, both countries do show some striking similarities in terms of the political culture in general, and the dealing with the past in particular. They are also both home to strong radical right parties and were the first post-war countries to have radical right parties in government.

Compulsory readings:

Optional readings:

 

Lecture 5: Denmark & Sweden
Denmark and Sweden are more connected than most European countries – thousands of Danes and Swedes cross the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö every day – yet constitute a sharp contrast in term of the radical right. Against the highly successful Danish People’s Party stand the highly unsuccessful Sweden Democrats. What are the explanations and consequences?

Compulsory readings:

Optional readings:

 

Lecture 6: Central and Eastern Europe 
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most Central and Eastern European countries have developed into (more or less) liberal democracies. Like the traditional (western) democracies, this also means that they have become confronted with challenges from the radical right. This class will provide a bird’s eye overview of recent developments in this fascinating if still much understudied area.

Optional readings:

Optional readings:

 

PART III: ISSUES AND THEORIES

Lecture 7: The Other(s)? But Who Are ‘We’? 
Many accounts on the radical right focus primarily on what they allegedly dislike or even hate. In fact, most definitions of the radical right include at least one ‘anti-feature’ (such as anti-immigrant), again implying that they are more about what they don’t like than what they like. But who are the ‘enemies’ of the radical right, and what do they say about what the radical right stands for? And where do women fit in all this?

Compulsory reading:

Optional readings:

 

Lecture 8: Dealing with an Increasingly Integrated World 
In the last decades European politics have been deeply effected by two broad and diffuse processes: Europeanization and globalization. The radical right had to respond to these new challenges too, but how? Where do the radical right parties stand on European integration and globalization? And how do they try to confront these two major challenges to national sovereignty?

Compulsory reading:

Optional readings:

 

Lecture 9: Explaining the Radical Right
Having established what we are talking about, who they are, how (un)successful they are within western democracies, and what their main issues are, two important questions remain open. The first is: why is it there! Many theories have been put forward to explain the success of the radical right, and so far no “general theory” exists. Can there be just one theory to explain all western democracies? Is the East different from the West? Are Russia and the US (really) different?

Compulsory reading:

Optional readings:

 

Lecture 10: So What? The Radical Right and Western Democracies 
While much is written about the electoral success of radical right parties, and its possible explanations, much less is known of the actual impact of these parties on western democracies, or vice versa. What role do radical right play in the politics of western democracies? Do they effect western democracies? And do western democracies effect them?

Compulsory readings:

Optional readings:

 

Other general books on this topic are:

 

The lecturer
Cas Mudde is the co-founder of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy, its quarterly journal e-Extreme, and the Routledge Studies in Extremism & Democracy book series. He has published widely on topics such as political extremism, democratization in Eastern Europe, civil society, and Euroskepticism. His most recent book is Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (Cambridge UP, 2007), which won the Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research and was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title (both in 2008). Among his recent publications are the co-edited mini-symposium “The Numbers We Use, The World We See” in Political Research Quarterly (June 2010), the co-edited special issue “Deviant Democracies: Democratization Against the Odds” of Democratization (September 2008), and the edited volume Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2005).

From August 2010 until May 2011 he will be the Nancy Schaenen Visiting Scholar at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics and Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He remains connected to the Department of Political Science of the University of Antwerp (Belgium), where he worked from 2002 till 2010, as a guest professor.

His current research involves several projects on populism, most notably the article “To the Left? To the Right? Populisms in Europe and Latin America Compared”and an edited volume (with Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser) on Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy?. He is also working on a new book manuscript, provisionally entitled Defending Democracies: Liberal Democracies and the Extremist Challenges of the 21st Century, which addresses the fundamental question how liberal democracies can defend themselves without undermining their liberal democratic values.

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