ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Too Much is Too Much’ or ‘All is Well’: A csQCA of Western European social democratic parties’ nationalist position-taking (2008-2018)

European Politics
Nationalism
Party Manifestos
Political Parties
Political Theory
Regionalism
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Southern Europe
Federico Trastulli
LUISS University

Abstract

Nationalism is generally regarded as an electoral issue owned by right-wing, and especially far-right, political formations. As a result, the empirical literature overlooks the fact that other parties propose nationalist positions in their electoral offer as well. This is true even when looking amongst the rank and file of social democracy in Western Europe. Therefore, this paper aims at answering the research question surrounding under which conditions Western European social democratic parties adopt nationalist positions, specifically focussing on the years between 2008 and 2018. It does so by carrying out a crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (csQCA) of Manifesto Project (MARPOR) data on the electoral manifestos of social democratic parties from 16 Western European countries. The directional expectations guiding the analysis are informed by the relevant literature. In particular, we should expect the presence of any of these four national factors to favour nationalist position-taking in electoral manifestos: high immigration, high ethnic fragmentation, negative economic conditions and a favourable configuration of public opinion. The csQCA provides results that are both robust and satisfying in terms of parameters of fit. Whilst these indicate that, significantly, no single condition is sufficient on its own to cause the outcome, two equifinal conjunctions lead instead to its occurrence during the analysed timeframe. Indeed, Western European social democratic parties will take nationalist stances when faced with favourable public opinion and high immigration or with favourable public opinion and not high ethnic fragmentation and not negative economy; according to, respectively, a ‘fence-building’ or a ‘preservation’ mechanism. This paper contributes to the existing research on the lefts and nationalism, as well as to the broader area of electoral studies