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Populism and Nativism as Legitimation Narratives of Illiberal Politics

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Comparative Politics
Democracy
European Politics
Nationalism
Political Parties
Populism
Political Ideology
P348
Bartek Pytlas
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Nicole Lugosi
University of Alberta

Saturday 14:00 - 15:40 (25/08/2018)

Building: VMP 9 Floor: Ground Room: VMP9-Lecture Hall

Abstract

In recent decades, nativist and populist politics shifted from the margins to the mainstream of the political process within contemporary European democracies. While the growing resonance of these claims is not limited to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), it is in this region that the consequences of this phenomenon for party competition, public debates and the democratic rule of law as such have become most palpable. Across the region, old and new political actors alike use populist and nativist rhetoric to establish an illiberal counter-narrative to the underlying values and institutional framework of democracy. Where these parties moved from mainstream to power, populism and nativism are being used to legitimize policies widely criticized for their deteriorating consequences on constitutional checks and balances and the rule of law through a paradox political invocation of “true” or “better democracy”. What more, these narratives have been deployed as discursive tools to justify the de-legitimization of political and societal actors, as well as institutions opposing the illiberal turn. Extant research has put increased attention on the impact of populism and nativism on liberal democracy. Yet, there is still need to systematically explore how exactly political entrepreneurs use these narratives in the political process to establish and most especially uphold mainstream legitimacy of illiberal democratic politics and policies. Observing how political actors both in opposition and in power use populist and nativist discourses to legitimize the illiberal transformation of the normative and institutional frameworks of democracy carries increased relevance beyond CEE cases. This Panel, therefore, aims to explore patterns and mechanisms of populist and nativist legitimation strategies behind illiberal politics in a comparative perspective. Which strategies do political challengers use to legitimize their illiberal “ideology of democracy” within mainstream party competition? How do populist and nativist actors in power justify and “cement” their illiberal rule? What are the reactions of parties and other actors that oppose illiberal politics and how can we explain the success or failure of their discursive counteraction strategies? To answer these and further interrelated questions, the Panel brings together conceptual and empirical contributions on the relationship between populism, nativism and illiberal politics. The comparative analyses and case studies in this panel contribute to a better understanding of the patterns and mechanisms behind these phenomena in Central and Eastern Europe, but also beyond the region.

Title Details
Managerial Populism and the Rise of Illiberal Politics: the Case of the Czech Republic View Paper Details
Populist Radical Right Mainstreaming and Challenges to Democracy in an Enlarged Europe View Paper Details
Radical Right Framing of Social Policy in Hungary: Between Nationalism and Populism View Paper Details
The Temporal Construction of Nation in New Populisms View Paper Details
Discursive Counteraction Strategies to Populism and Nativism. Comparison of Slovakia and the Czech Republic View Paper Details