1st Edition

The Populism-Euroscepticism Nexus A Discursive Comparative Analysis of Germany and Spain

By Juan Roch Copyright 2024
    240 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the modes of European Union (EU) contestation which are mobilized by radical parties and seeks to unearth the relationship of such contestation with populist discourses. It looks specifically at how rightist and leftist parties articulate populist discourses with representations and problematizations of Europe and the EU by examining the left-wing Podemos in Spain and the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany. It argues that radical parties also build their Euroscepticism on other hegemonic discourses and populism is only one possible discursive articulation to mobilize the contestation of the EU. It examines whether populism discourses may serve (or not) as a stimulus for EU contestation and as such shows the implications that this may have for the persistence of Euroscepticism in Western European democracies. This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of radical parties, democracy, democratic and political theory, populism, Euroscepticism, discourse studies and more broadly to comparative politics and European studies.

    Introduction: populism and EU contestation

    1. The study of populism and EU contestation

    2. A discursive approach to the populism-Euroscepticism nexus

    3. Europeanization in Spain

    4. Podemos: the populist rise in Spain

    5. Europeanization in Germany

    6. The emergence of the radical right in Germany

    7. Comparison and conclusions


    Juan Roch is a Margarita Salas postdoctoral researcher at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM).

    "This book breaks new ground in its exploration of the development of Euroskepticism through populist discursive and social practices.  By combining the post-structuralist approaches of Foucault’s dispositifs with the Critical Discourse Analysis of Laclau and Moufe, the book creates a highly innovative theoretical template through which to study populism in Europe.  The result is a deeply insightful analysis of the power of populist contestation of European integration through a qualitative analysis of the cases of the AfD in Germany and Podemos in Spain."

    Vivien A. Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration at Boston University

    "The Populism-Euroscepticism Nexus offers a refreshing discursive perspective on how Alternative für Deutschland and Podemos have articulated their populism with contestation of the EU. This theoretically, methodologically and analytically sophisticated book will be of interest to anyone interested in how left and right populist discourses about the EU are embedded in historical processes of Europeanisation."

    Benjamin De Cleen, Associate professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

    "Juan Roch’s book offers important critical insights into the relationship between populism and EU contestation, and also demonstrates the complexity of party positions on ‘Europe’ more generally. While populism and Euroscepticism are often assumed to go hand-in-hand, radical populist actors often take an ambivalent stance towards the issue of European integration, and criticism of the EU is hardly the prerogative of populists alone. Based on a carefully-crafted conceptual and theoretical framework, and a systematic comparative case-study analysis, Roch’s study helps us to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the multiplicity of Eurosceptic discourses, which are shown to be strongly shaped by historical and national context."

    Stijn van KesselReader in European Politics, Queen Mary University of London