The past decade has been a tumultuous period in European politics. Despite the unique economies, histories, and cultures of Western member-states of the European Union, many of these countries are alike in seeing the rise of far-right populist political parties that have challenged the status quo. This project seeks to describe the general character of these parties. They are defined by their far-right positions on social issues– namely their calls to restrict immigration and reestablish the nation-state as the basis for sovereignty– and their populist themes, wherein they deride the mainstream as a corrupt establishment that has forsaken the common people. Outside of these definitional parameters, however, these parties are a fairly diverse set. Their electoral success is varied. They have different origins and structural characteristics. It is difficult to establish a common profile of their supporters. Their positions on numerous issues, like European integration, economics, and matters concerning traditional values, contain various nuances. These factors might challenge the ability to draw accurate generalizations about them. Nevertheless, they may in fact be united in their reason for being: they could be just one symptom of a larger, albeit diffuse, social movement seeking to affect issues of European identity and culture.


Sponsored by David Levy