What constitutes right-wing extremism? - An analysis of three European political parties

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Author: Erik Mellander; [2020-02-18]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The end of World War II resulted in the dissolvent of the German Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) and the Italian Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF). The strength of fascist and national socialist ideologies was significantly weakened after the war. However, the ideas survived and are still visible in European societies in the form of right-wing extremism. Right-wing extreme features such as anti-globalisation, nationalism, and xenophobia exist globally as well, for example the political and societal development in the Philippines, India, Brazil, China, and the United States indicates right-wing extreme tendencies. Although many right-wing extreme studies has been made, scholars cannot agree on an uncontested definition of the concept. The aim of this study is to contribute to the development of an analytical and comparative framework for the study of political parties. Theoretical inspiration draws from Cas Mudde’s work on right-wing extremism. The analytical framework is used to examine three political parties in three countries: the Swedish Nordic Resistance Movement, German Alternative for Germany, and the Swiss People’s Party. The analytical framework is used to dissect the selected party’s association with right-wing extremism. A content analysis of each party’s manifesto enables a more detailed analysis of the specific associations to right-wing extremism in each case. Right-wing extremism is a broad phenomenon which includes several distinct dimensions that might be present to a greater or lesser extent. The thesis offers a systematic account of the ideological content of party programs which enables comparison between organisations. Although branded as “right-wing extremist” the thesis shows that there is considerable variation between the political parties.

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