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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The “populist radical right” is a contested concept in scholarly work for good reason. This chapter begins by explaining that the political parties usually grouped together under this label are not a party family in a conventional sense and do not self-identify with this category. It goes on to show how political science scholarship has established that in Europe during the past thirty or so years we have seen the rise of a set of parties that share a common ideological feature—nativism. The nativist political parties experiencing most electoral support have combined their nativist agenda with some other legitimate ideological companion, which provides deniability—a shield against charges that the nativist agenda makes the parties and their supporters right-wing extremist and undemocratic. The chapter goes on to explain that in order to make progress on our understanding of how and why the populist radical right persuades citizens, we need to recognize: first, that nativism is the only necessary ingredient without which the populist radical right loses its force; and second, that nativism in contemporary established democracies has tended not to persuade a large share of voters without an ideological companion.

Keywords: radical right, political parties, authoritarianism, identity, reputational shields, populism, nativism, voters, citizens

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