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Mapping Extreme Right Ideology: an empirical geography of the European extreme right

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Sarah Harrison and Michael Bruter
Palgrave Macmillan (30 August 2011)

Why is the discourse of extreme right parties so hard to characterize? Why are some parties so much more successful than others? And why do they even seem to attract different kinds of voters?

This book proposes a new multidimensional model of extreme right politics based on alternative expressions of negative identity and authoritarianism. The model is comprehensively tested across 17 European political systems and 25 parties, using a text-analysis of party manifestoes and press releases over time, a mass survey of extreme right voters, interviews with leaders and a systematic decryption of parties' electoral results over 30 years.

The book shows how the European extreme right is 'mapped' by the various ideological positions espoused by parties and voters, and how the 'match' between parties' discourses and voters' preferences determines the evolution of extreme right ideology, patterns of competition, and ultimately dynamics of electoral success.

  • Sarah Harrison is a research officer in electoral psychology at LSE.
  • Dr Michael Bruter is a reader in political science at LSE.

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'The extreme right has played a significant role in European politics in the past. The most recent developments demonstrate that extreme rightist tendencies will have an impact on Europe in the foreseeable future also. Michael Bruter and Sarah Harrison's brilliant analysis of the extreme right's way of thinking is published exactly at the right moment.'
Anton Pelinka, professor of nationalism studies and political science, Central European University, Budapest

'This is a brilliant, comprehensive and lucid study of the European extreme right. The authors succeed in synthesizing the vast relevant literature in exciting ways which open new venues for academic research. Moreover, they perform an interdisciplinary and comparative, quantitative and qualitative discourse and text analysis which illustrates the intricate complexity of extreme right-wing national and transnational politics across a range of genres (e.g., policy papers, party programmes) in many - to date uninvestigated - details. I am convinced that this book will become a benchmark for future theoretical and empirical research on the European radical right.
Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies, Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, UK

Mapping Extreme Right Ideology