Parties of the radical and populist Right in Central and Eastern Europe
Planned feature for Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest
coordinated by Frédéric Zalewski
It is now common place in scholarly discourse to emphasise the place occupied by new radical Right and/or populist parties in Central and Eastern Europe since the collapse of Communism. As part of a trend observable in other areas, this topic has formed a new field of investigation for specialists in similar parties in Western Europe and has been imported into discussions among East European political scientists. Much of the discussion has focused on the specific forms taken on by these parties in Central and Eastern Europe as compared with Western Europe.
Space prevents an exhaustive recapitulation of the various theses suggested, but we may note that the literature has in general assigned these parties causes peculiar to the Eastern part of Europe. The new radical Right parties in Western Europe have been identified with the new cleavage introduced by the emergence of what is known as the “New Politics”: the challenges of post-industrial society generate among certain voters new demands for law and order, immigration control and a reassertion of values of national identity that are poorly met by “traditional” parties but reflected by the new radical Right (Bell, 1973; Dalton, 1988; Ignazi, 2003). One feature of West European populist parties during their rise in the 1980s-1990s is said to have been that they almost exclusively politicised immigration issues to make them a “winning formula” for elections (Kitschelt, 1995; Mudde, 1999).
In comparison, the emergence of populist and new radical right-wing parties in Eastern Europe is more usually linked to the factors of post-Communist political instability and social disorder. The shallow foundations of the democratic system are seen as the origin of political behaviour incompatible with civil democratic practice, while the post-1989 political liberalisation opened up a space for social demands that had been repressed by the authoritarian (or post-totalitarian) regimes of Communism (Mudde and Kopecki, 2003). This is believed to be a clear political pathology of post-Communism: societies with a tendency to anomie, disoriented by the social costs of transition, are seen as attracted by populist leaders, thus preventing moderate parties from stabilising their electorates (Tavits, 2005).
At the same time, however, various authors regularly consider the correspondences and similarities between the populist or far-right parties and movements of Western and Eastern Europe. The “losers” of the globalising post-industrial society in the West do look like the “losers” of the market transition in the East. In both cases, the main danger for democracy may be identified more in the illiberal policies of some right-wing parties in government (in no particular order, Berlusconi, Orbán and the Kaczyński brothers) than in extremist parties, even if Western Europe is perceived as more able to resist them because of the robustness of its party systems, electoral alignments and the precedents established by constitutional courts (Mudde, 2013).
The “Parties of the radical and populist Right in Central and Eastern Europe” feature is intended to pick up from these investigations, without necessarily using their theoretical analyses. For reasons of clarity, it will pose a selection of preliminary definitions that authors are encouraged to take more as areas of investigation than as set, untouchable classifications. For example, we intend first to distinguish between mainstream right-wing parties belonging to institutional politics but with a marked neo-conservative or illiberal orientation, with a style labelled as populist (such as PiS and Fidesz), and extreme right-wing parties with a highly ethnocentric vision of the world close to identity fundamentalism (such as LPR and Jobbik). We hope for contributions following in the footsteps of András Bozóki concerning the shift that occurred in East European politics in the 2000s: whereas during the 1990s, the far right-wing and populist parties saw their influence restricted by their dimension of protest, some of them, in the following decade, managed to combine their various earlier themes in the rhetoric of a “second revolution” against the political and institutional consensus established in 1989 (Bozóki, 2008).
The papers may take one of two approaches:
1) A transversal investigation of the major changes occurring in these countries since the 1990s, their possible radicalisation, and the ways parties like PiS and Fidesz built sustainable social alliances among their electorates, raising the question both of the specific features of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and how these ideological references, especially neo-conservatism, cross borders. Conversely, one basis of investigation might be how some more traditional parties, such as the ODS in the Czech Republic, maintained control of some of these topics.
2) A more monographic approach studying some of these parties (or groups of parties, in an evidence-based comparative manner), focusing on the analysis of their mobilisation, professionalisation and ideological structuring over time. In terms of professionalisation, we would welcome papers describing situations that differ between regions or at various local levels. Sociologically, such case-studies will address the problematic issue of whether these parties should be called populist at all, examining the limitations of this label and its use for political stakeholders in post-Communism (given that some movements classified on the left also attract it). They should also attend to the historicity of the various processes.
Proposals for papers, length 5,000 characters, with a short biography of the author, should be sent to the RECEO office by 31 May 2014. They will be reviewed by the members of the RECEO editorial committee. The result of this review will be sent to authors by 15 July 2014. The final texts, no longer than 60,000 characters, should be sent to the RECEO office by 31 December 2014. These papers will be submitted to double-blind reviewing.
Please send submissions either
directly to the editorial office: Stéphanie Cirac <firstname.lastname@example.org>
or to the feature coordinator: Frédéric Zalewski <email@example.com>
The Revue d’Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest is indexed in Econlit (Pittsburg, USA), Current Contents Social and Behavioral Sciences (Philadelphia, USA), Social Sciences Citation Index (Philadelphia, USA), PAIS International (New York, USA), Francis (Vandoeuvre, FR), Elsevier Bibliographic Databases (Scopus), Web of Science, AERES.
Bell Daniel (1973), The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, New York, Basic Books.
Bozóki Andras (2008)., « Consolidation or Second Revolution ? The Emergence of the New Right in Hungary », Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics.
Dalton Russel J. (1988), Citizen Politics. Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advenced Industrial Democracies, Chatham, Chatham House Publishers.
Ignazi Piero (2003), Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Kitschelt Herbert (1995), The Radical Right in Western Europe. A Comparative Analysis, Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press.
Mudde Cas (1999), « The Single-Issue Party Thesis : Extreme Right Parties and the Immigration Issue », West European Politics, 22, 3.
Mudde Cas (2013), « Three Decades of Populist Right Parties in Western Europe: So What ? », European Journal of Political Research, 52.
Mudde Cas & Kopecky Petr (2003), Uncivil Society ? Contentious politics in post-communist Europe, Londres, Routledge, 2003.
Tavits Margit (2005), « The Development of Stable Party Support : Electoral Dynamics in Post-Communist Europe », American Journal of Political Science, 2