UZH-Logo

Cleavages and actors in the formation of a new cultural divide: Why a right-wing populist party emerged in France and not in Germany


Bornschier, S (2012). Cleavages and actors in the formation of a new cultural divide: Why a right-wing populist party emerged in France and not in Germany. European Political Science Review, 4(1):1-25.

Abstract

This article analyzes why, despite similar transformations in the dimensions structuring political space since the late 1980s, extreme right-wing populist parties have emerged in some West European countries, but not in others. Two factors may affect the fortunes of these parties. First, if electorates remain firmly entrenched in older cleavages, new parties will find it difficult to establish themselves. Second, the positions of the established actors with respect to the new cultural divide that the extreme populist right mobilizes on may be crucial. This article systematizes the various explanations regarding the impact of mainstream party positions on the electoral fortunes of the extreme right, and develops two new hypotheses that differentiate between the conditions that favor the entry of the extreme right, and its subsequent success. The various hypotheses are then tested in an empirical analysis of election campaigns in France and Germany, combining data on party positions as reflected in the news media with mass-level surveys. The results show that the diverging behavior of the established parties, rather than the strength of the traditional state-market cleavage, explain the differences between these two countries. More specifically, the differing strategy of the mainstream left in the two contexts have allowed the Front National to anchor itself in the French party system, while similar parties have not achieved a breakthrough in Germany.

This article analyzes why, despite similar transformations in the dimensions structuring political space since the late 1980s, extreme right-wing populist parties have emerged in some West European countries, but not in others. Two factors may affect the fortunes of these parties. First, if electorates remain firmly entrenched in older cleavages, new parties will find it difficult to establish themselves. Second, the positions of the established actors with respect to the new cultural divide that the extreme populist right mobilizes on may be crucial. This article systematizes the various explanations regarding the impact of mainstream party positions on the electoral fortunes of the extreme right, and develops two new hypotheses that differentiate between the conditions that favor the entry of the extreme right, and its subsequent success. The various hypotheses are then tested in an empirical analysis of election campaigns in France and Germany, combining data on party positions as reflected in the news media with mass-level surveys. The results show that the diverging behavior of the established parties, rather than the strength of the traditional state-market cleavage, explain the differences between these two countries. More specifically, the differing strategy of the mainstream left in the two contexts have allowed the Front National to anchor itself in the French party system, while similar parties have not achieved a breakthrough in Germany.

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

117 downloads since deposited on 25 Nov 2011
24 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:March 2012
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 11:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:07
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1755-7739
Additional Information:Copyright: Cambridge University Press
Publisher DOI:10.1017/S1755773911000117
Official URL:http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8485389
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51302

Download

[img]
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 254kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations