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The Populist Radical Right and the European Welfare State: Current Challenges and Perspectives

Contentious Politics
Extremism
Nationalism
Political Parties
Populism
Social Policy
Immigration
P419
Oscar Mazzoleni
Université de Lausanne
Gilles Ivaldi
Sciences Po Paris
Oscar Mazzoleni
Université de Lausanne

Building: BL27 Georg Sverdrups hus, Floor: 3, Room: GS 3527

Friday 17:40 - 19:20 (08/09/2017)


Abstract

Populist radical right parties (PRRPs) have been originally associated with neoliberal economics and a backlash against the welfare state (Betz 1994, Kitschelt 1995). During the 1980s, PRRPs generally advanced an agenda of economic liberalization and large cutbacks in welfare. Most scholars agree however that, in the decade that followed, PRRPs progressively disengaged from neo-liberalism and moved away from their previous welfare populist politics of retrenchment, adopting a more moderate social policy profile to cater to their growing working class constituency (Mudde 2007, McGann and Kitschelt 2005). Recent studies suggest that some PRRPs may have shifted their social policies further to the left and that redistributive welfare chauvinist appeals have become standard to most of those parties across Europe, fitting their nativist agenda (Ivaldi 2015, Ennser-Jedenastick 2016, Harteveld 2016, De Koster et al. 2013, Norocel 2016). The proliferation of new cases of PRRPs has made this party family more ideologically heterogeneous and there is still little knowledge of the current social policy politics of the PRR. As Mudde (2016) suggests, studies of the PRR should move beyond their traditional focus on cultural issues of immigration to reflect the broader range of socio-economic issues, most particularly those related to their welfare chauvinism (e.g. Afonso and Rennwald 2016). This panel will seek to explore the politics of welfare among PRRPs comparatively and over time. The panel will focus on the challenges posed by PRRPs to the institutional structure of welfare state regimes and ideals of solidarity across Europe. The impact of the economic and migration crises on the socio-economic agenda of PRRPs has been largely ignored in recent studies on the PRR (Mudde 2016). Papers should address the complexity of the relationship between current EU economic and migration crises and PRR electoral success. To which extent have PRRPs rebalanced their welfare populist and welfare chauvinist preferences to address demands of social solidarity that have emerged from the crises? How are PRRPs challenging the dynamics of migrant social integration? And how can we link PRR welfare strategies to the current electoral success of PRRPs and the changing class structure of their support in Europe? We will be particularly interested in papers that examine variation in PRR social policy profiles and new ideas of ‘deservingness’ across different types of social democratic, conservative and liberal welfare state regimes, investigating PRR impact on mainstream parties, voters and redistributive social welfare policies. We hope to provide new insights into the multifaceted PRRP challenge to the contemporary welfare state.

Title Details
Beyond Left and Right: The Economic Policy of the Dutch Freedom Party View Paper Details
Welfare Chauvinism and Socio-economic Positions among West-European Radical Right-wing Populist Parties. A Comparison between the French Front National and the Swiss People’s Party View Paper Details
Is all Social Policy Subject to Welfare Chauvinist Claims? Explaining Variation in Welfare Chauvinism across Policy Areas View Paper Details
European Populisms: Demand-side, Supply-side and Contextual Explanations View Paper Details