Understanding Right-Wing Populism And What To Do About It

Understanding Right-Wing Populism And What To Do About It

Tuesday, 11 October 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:45pm
ESC Seminar Room
Tim Vlandas (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Daphne Halikiopoulou (University of Reading)
Othon Anastasakis (Director, European Studies Centre)
Lenka Bustikova (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Anja Giudici (School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University)
European Studies Seminar

Registerration through Eventbrite is recommended but not compulsory

In light of the post-fascist victory of FdI in the Italian election one might think right-wing populism is again on the rise. And we have seen other recent successes. Viktor Orbán has entrenched his power in Hungary. Marine Le Pen secured the best result in the second round of the French presidential elections as of yet. And this month, the Swedish SD achieved their record result securing a right-wing majority.

At the same time, right-wing populists are also on the backtrack: Putin’s war has revealed the dangers of cosying up of right-wing populists to authoritarian leaders. Slovenia has voted for change and voted Janez Janša out of office. The Austrian right-wing populist government stumbled over corruption scandals and ended its enabler Sebastian Kurz’s career.

Against this background, FES Democracy of the Future has recently published the report Understanding Right-Wing Populism And What To Do About It which unpacks the reasons for success of right-wing populist parties in Europe. The report identifies regional patterns and commonalities of RWPPs across Europe showing the relevance of economic concerns driving right-wing populist support and the relevance of generous welfare policies in mitigating their success. One important take-away of the report's findings is countering the success of right-wing populists in Europe requires progressives to focus on issues of (economic) inequality especially in light of increasing economic uncertainty following the energy and inflation crisis rather than cultural issues.

Tim Vlandas is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy and Fellow at St Antony’s College, both at the University of Oxford. He holds a PhD in Political Economy from the London School of Economics. His main area of expertise is comparative political economy, with a particular interest in the relationship between electoral politics, public policies and socio-economic outcomes. His research has been published in over 25 academic journals and has received awards from the American Political Science Association and the European Network for Social Policy Analysis. He has recently co-authored a book entitled Foreign States in Domestic Markets: Sovereign Wealth Funds and the West, published by Oxford University Press. His research has been cited by the UK House of Commons, World Bank, International Labour Organisation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Commission, and the United Nations.

Daphne Halikiopoulou is Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Reading. She is interested in party politics and voting behavior with a focus on the far right, populism and nationalism in Europe. She is the author of The Golden Dawn’s ‘Nationalist Solution’: explaining the rise of the far right in Greece (with Sofia Vasilopoulou) and numerous articles on European far right parties. Her research appears in the European Journal of Political Research, West European Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, European Political Science Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Government and Opposition, Environmental Politics and Nations and Nationalism among others. Her article ‘Risks, Costs and Labour Markets: Explaining Cross-National Patterns of Far Right Party Success in European Parliament Elections’ (with Tim Vlandas) has been awarded Best Paper from the American Political Science Association (APSA). She is joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Nations and Nationalism and co-editor of the Springer book series in Electoral Politics. She gained her PhD from LSE.

Lenka Buštíková grew up in Prague and holds a PhD in political science from Duke University and MA degrees from Charles University, Central European University and Harvard University. She is Associate Professor in European Union and Comparative East European Politics at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on party politics, voting behaviour, clientelism, and state capacity, with special reference to Eastern Europe. Her book, Extreme Reactions: Radical Right Mobilization in Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press), demonstrates that far right parties mobilize against politically ascendant minorities. It received the Davis Center Book Prize in political and social studies (2020). She is the recipient of the 2015 Best Article Prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association's European Politics and Society Section, for her article "Revenge of the Radical Right", and also the recipient of the 2017 Best Paper Prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association's Comparative Democratization Section, for her paper co-authored with Cristina Corduneanu-Huci "Patronage, Trust and State Capacity: The Historical Trajectories of Clientelism". She is currently serving as an editor of East European Politics.

Anja Giudici is a lecturer in education at Newcastle University and former postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Oxford, where she worked on the Schoolpol Project led by Jane Gingrich. Anja’s work examines the politics of education and political determinants of education systems from comparative and historical perspectives. In the last few years, she led a project aimed at identifying the educational ideas and strategies of the post-WWII Western European far right. 

Image credit: FES Democracy of the Future