Populism in Western Europe: Comparing Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Populism in Western Europe

Comparing Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, 1st Edition

By Teun Pauwels


220 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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Despite the increasing academic interest in populism, we still lack understanding of individual factors contributing to populist voting. One of the main reasons for this is that populism is almost always attached to other ideologies which makes it difficult to isolate factors.

This book draws on an innovative research design by comparing the reasons to vote for six populist parties which differ remarkably in terms of their host ideology in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. The results show that populist voters are motivated by their dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy and a desire for more direct democracy. Furthermore it appears that populist parties do not mobilize among one specific social group although deprived groups are generally more susceptible to populist voting. Finally, this study explored why some populist parties persist while others decline. Origins of party formation and how leaders organize their party internally seem the most important factors determining party persistence.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of populism, European politics and contemporary political theory.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Defining populism 3. Measuring populism 4. Theories explaining populist voting 5. At your service! Lijst Pim Fortuyn in The Netherlands 6. Common sense. Lijst Dedecker in Belgium 7. Own people first! The Vlaams Belang in Belgium 8. Defending Henk & Ingrid from Islamification. The PVV in The Netherlands 9. Vote against, vote SP! The Socialistische Partij in The Netherlands 10. Wahltag ist protesttag! The PDS/Die Linke in Germany 11. Comparative perspectives

About the Author

Teun Pauwels works at the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training and is scientific collaborator at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.

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