How the rise of populist parties is changing European party systems


Absorbing the Blow - Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party SystemsThe growing presence of populist parties in party systems is undeniable. The Dutch Freedom Party, the French National Front, and the Five Star Movement in Italy rank among the largest in their party systems.

New from ECPR Press and Rowman & Littlefield International is Absorbing the Blow, the first comprehensive study examining the impact of populist parties on eleven European party systems.

The multi-authored collection, edited by Andrej Zaslove and Steven Wolinetz, and featuring contributions from Matthijs RooduijnSarah de LangeFernando Casal Bértoa and Simona Guerra, among others, seeks to analyse the way mainstream parties absorb the blow of populist party activity.

The prevailing view on populist parties – one that is shared by some of this book's contributors – is that they have had minimal impact on parties and party systems. But Absorbing the Blow shows that their impact can be considerable. Populist parties are growing while mainstream parties continue to struggle.  

The book stemmed from a question that Steve asked Andrej – whether anything had been done on the impact that populist parties had had on parties and parties systems. Andrej indicated that there was some, but not much. Enlisting other scholars, they organised a mini-conference at the Council for European Studies meetings in Barcelona. From there, the volume emerged.

Steven and Andrej hope that Absorbing the Blow will further the debate on the impact of populist parties and the circumstances in which parties and party systems change.

Steven Wolinetz and Andrej ZasloveAbout the authors

Steven B. Wolinetz is Professor Emeritus in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has written widely on political parties and the politics of smaller European democracies.  

Andrej Zaslove’s research interest and published work focuses on populism and political parties. He publishes on measuring populism (among individuals), on foreign policy and populism, on gender and populism, and on populism and party systems.

Recent publications

Steven Wolinetz

'European Political Parties: Changing Forms, Increased Vulnerability'. In José M. Magone, ed Routledge Handbook of European Politics, London: Routledge, 2015, pp 46993. Invited.

'Franchising the Franchise Party:  How Far Can a New Party Type Travel?' in Richard Johnston and Campbell Sharman, eds., Parties and Party Systems: Structure and Context, Vancouver, UBC Press, 2015, pp. 7291.

'Coping with Cornucopia: The Parties Literature in New Millennium' International Political Science Review, 28:5, 2007, pp. 57184. 

'Party Systems and Party System Types' in Richard Katz and William Crotty, eds., Handbook of Party Politics, (London:  Sage, 2006), pp. 5162.   

'Disconnected Competition in Canada' (with R. Kenneth Carty), in Daniel Hough and Charlie Jeffery, eds. Devolution and Electoral PoliticsManchester University Press, 2006, pp. 5475.

'Canada: Executive Dominance and Presidentialization' (with Herman Bakvis), in Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb, eds., The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 199220.

'Beyond the Catch-all Party: Approaches to the Study of Parties and Party Organization in Contemporary Democracies', in Juan Linz, Jose Ramon Montero and Richard Gunther, eds., Political Parties: Old Concepts and New Challenges. (Oxford University Press, 2002)  pp. 13665. Refereed

'Modell Nederland: Social Partnership and Competitive Corporatism in the Netherlands,' in Nancy Bermeo, ed., Unemployment in the New Europe, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 24570.

Andrej Zaslove

Akkerman, A., Zaslove, A., & Spruyt, B. (2017). ‘We the People’or ‘We the Peoples’? A Comparison of Support for the Populist Radical Right and Populist Radical Left in the Netherlands. Swiss Political Science Review23(4), 377403.

Spierings, N., Lubbers, M., & Zaslove, A. (2017). ‘Sexually modern nativist voters’: do they exist and do they vote for the populist radical right?. Gender and Education29(2), 216237.

Verbeek, B., & Zaslove, A. (2016). Italy: a case of mutating populism?. Democratization23(2), 304323.

Akkerman, A., Mudde, C., & Zaslove, A. (2014). How populist are the people? Measuring populist attitudes in voters. Comparative political studies47(9), 13241353.



Keywords: Political Parties, Populism

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