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The Rise and Faults of the Internalist Perspective in Extreme Right Studies

Goodwin, Matthew J. (2006) The Rise and Faults of the Internalist Perspective in Extreme Right Studies. Representation, 42 (4). pp. 347-364. ISSN 0034-4893. E-ISSN 1749-4001. (doi:10.1080/00344890600951924) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://doi.org/10.1080/00344890600951924

Abstract

In contemporary political science, the extreme right phenomenon continues to attract considerable academic attention. Among major political developments in established Western-style democracies, few have provoked as much interest as the revival of different forms of right-wing radicalism and extremism in recent years (Betz 2003, 74). The number of studies focused on the subject, the number of scholars active in the field and the range of theoretical approaches have all expanded enormously (Mudde 2000, 6). In short, there has been an ‘explosive growth of the literature’ (Ignazi 2002, 22).1. Despite renewed interest in the ‘dark side of Europe’ (Harris 1994), it should not be overlooked that there exists a rich tradition of research focused upon various aspects of extreme right-wing politics. As pointed out by Norris (2005), social psychology, political psychology, political sociology and political science have all devoted significant efforts to investigating the social bases of support for a variety of manifestations commonly labelled ‘extreme right’, whether fascism and Nazism (e.g. Adorno et al. 1950), Poujadisme in France (Hoffman 1956), American phenomena such as McCarthyism and the John Birch Society (Bell 1963; Lipset and Raab 1970), or more recent developments in Western Europe (e.g. Betz 1994; Cheles et al. 1995; Kitschelt and McGann 1995; Merkl and Weinberg 1997; Ignazi 2003; Carter 2005). What differentiates previous instances of extreme right success from more recent examples is that the former, for example the Poujadists in 1956 or the German Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) in the 1960s, experienced only ‘flash’ success, while contemporary extreme right parties (ERPs) have exerted an appreciable impact upon a number of party systems over the course of a number of electoral cycles. As observed by Schain et al. (2002, 16), ‘there seems to be little question that the radical right has become an important political force in Western Europe’. The principal aim of this review article is to examine the scholarly response to the extreme right phenomenon and, to this end, is composed in the following manner: first, it outlines how a preoccupation with ‘demand-side’ or ‘externalist’ explanations led researchers away from examining extreme right parties (ERPs) and towards assessing the impact of socio-economic developments on levels of ERP electoral support. Second, although contributors have in recent years attempted to redress this imbalance by focusing increasingly upon party-centric factors, to date ‘internalist’ perspectives have suffered from a glaring lack of empirical analysis. The review concludes by suggesting that researchers might gain a richer insight into internalist dimensions and the nature of contemporary ERPs through examining the political actors at the heart of this phenomenon.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/00344890600951924
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Matthew Goodwin
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 15:08 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:04 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/54418 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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