International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Coalition-making under conditions of ideological mismatch: The populist solution

    This article problematizes how non-spatial factors facilitate the formation of extraordinary ideologically mismatched government coalitions. An intensive case study analysis of the SYRIZA–ANEL governments in Greece (2015–2019) suggests that a shared symbolic discourse directed against mainstream contenders allowed elite actors with widely disparate programmatic commitments to circumvent rigid constraints imposed by minimal range theory. Under conditions of acute polarization and socioeconomic upheaval owing to the Greek sovereign debt crisis, a strategic use of populist anti-bailout discourse upset the usual order of party competition along spatial dimensions, fostering cross-ideological cohabitation at the executive level between the radical-left SYRIZA and the radical-right ANEL for a total of four years. However, an office-seeking approach based on a populist symbolic framework to represent salient grievances cannot fully eliminate policy dissension. Once core ideological commitments become explicitly challenged, inelastic policy-oriented factions and voting blocs may ultimately precipitate the expiration of the populist coalition.

  • Institutional foundations of global well-being: Democracy, state capacity and social protection

    This is an article about the foundations of human well-being. It makes two integrated contributions. We first examine well-being around the contemporary world, finding a remarkable correlation between subjective and objective measures and a considerable variation in overall well-being among countries. We then argue that certain institutional conditions have laid the basis for these differences. Integrating insights from several research strands, we outline a new explanatory model of popular well-being that considers the interactions between three institutional provisions: a well-functioning democracy, advanced state capacity, and an encompassing social protection system. To test the relationships implied, we used a new dataset involving more than 100 countries in the contemporary world that extends six decades back in time. Our investigations indicated that all three factors play a role in promoting popular well-being. However, to understand how, we need to consider the ways in which they can complement, substitute and mutually reinforce each other.

  • Off balance: Systematizing deformations of liberal democracy

    The project of liberal democracy is inherently marked by tensions between its liberal and democratic pillar. This means that liberal democracy needs to constantly strive for a balance between conflicting principles. If it does not contain these centrifugal forces, liberal democracies risk becoming subverted from within due to one principle clearly dominating the other. In this article, we start from the idea of liberal democracy depending on balance to systematically assess multiple endogenous challenges to democracy. We identify four types of deformations and show how they are qualitatively distinct phenomena, yet systematically relate to each other. We furthermore discuss what the co-existence of several such deformations means for the notion of liberal democracy understood as a state of balance. In sum, the proposed framework adds to existing research by providing a systematizing and theoretically grounded assessment of ongoing subversive tendencies in liberal democracy.

  • Introduction: Populism and feminist politics

    Populism is everywhere in Europe today: in politics and in research. Most research on populism has neglected the relationship between gender equality and populism. The aim of this symposium is precisely to scrutinize the relationship between feminist politics and right-wing and left-wing populist parties in Europe. The contribution of the symposium is twofold: to empirically investigate the relationship between feminist politics and both left and right populism, so as to provide a more holistic picture of their impact on feminist politics; and to study populist political parties both at the national level and at the level of the European Parliament. The symposium demonstrates the centrality of gender issues in the politics of populist parties and documents the effects populism has on gender relations, gender equality policies, and feminist politics.

  • Reputation versus office: Why populist radical right governmental participation has differed between Sweden and Denmark

    Sweden and Denmark have presented contrasting relationships between centre-right and populist radical right (PRR) parties. In Sweden, the centre-right has refused cooperation with the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) (SD), even when this cost the centre-right office. However, in Denmark, coalitions led by centre-right parties have cooperated with the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) (DF) on multiple occasions. Through a controlled comparison, we examine what explains these different outcomes. Using Chapel Hill Expert Surveys and public opinion data, we firstly look at the policy congruence between parties and the social acceptability of cooperation. We then examine interview material with representatives from centre-right and PRR parties in Sweden and Denmark to see their explanations of cooperation and non-cooperation. We conclude that, while the office goals of Danish centre-right parties, along with the policy focus and uncontroversial past of DF, explain that case, the reputation and past of SD has precluded a similar outcome.

  • Tensions between populist and feminist politics: The case of the Spanish left populist party Podemos

    This paper analyzes the interplay of left populist and feminist politics through a case study of Podemos (‘we can’), a Spanish left populist party that reproduces a dominant gendered logic of politics despite its feminist interpretation of democratic renewal. I argue that this is the result of fundamental contradictions between the feminist and populist projects of political transformation that coexist in the party. Even if left populism offers a more productive terrain for gender equality than right populism, central tenets of populism disrupt feminist commitments and goals. Chief among these are the oversimplification of the political field based on a limited diagnosis, the exclusionary appeals to the homeland and to a homogenizing collectivity of the people, the dominant masculine and personalistic logics of charismatic leaders, the prioritization of electoral success over other forms of political transformation, and the resulting gendered political culture that marginalizes empowerment, inclusion, and participatory democratic practices.

  • Depleting democracy? The radical right’s impact on minority politics in Eastern Europe

    Radical right parties’ calls for a strong and illiberal nation-state have travelled across the political spectrum into the mainstream in Eastern Europe since the 2000s, contributing to a rightward shift in the region’s politics. The mechanisms behind such influences in Eastern Europe are not yet fully understood. Focusing on the strength of radical right parties and mainstream parties’ strategic reactions to them, this study explores how and under what circumstances radical right parties exert influence on mainstream parties’ general political positions and on their positions concerning ethnic and national minorities – a group frequently targeted by radical right intolerance in the region. Shifts in parties’ positions are analyzed using comparative data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey and the authors’ own Viadrina Expert Survey. The study finds that where mainstream parties formally or informally cooperated with radical right parties or coopted their agenda, lasting rightward position shifts are observable. Consequently, the authors argue that by contributing to rightward shifts, especially on positions concerning minorities, radical right parties play a role in undermining liberal democratic values, thus contributing to the ‘depletion of democracy’.

  • Strategies of right populists in opposing gender equality in a polarized European Parliament

    An increasingly polarized European Parliament (EP) has become an important site of radical right populist opposition to gender equality. Through a qualitative analysis of populist interventions in EP plenary debates on gender equality in the 8th legislature (2014–2019), this article identifies the discursive strategies adopted by right populists to oppose gender equality. It contributes to scholarly debates on populisms and on gender and politics by respectively suggesting to the former the need to dedicate attention to gender equality as a central aspect in populist ideologies, and to the latter the importance of considering a variety of strategies of radical right opposition to gender equality. Radical right populist strategies include not only indirect but also direct opposition to gender equality and draw on old and traditional gender imaginaries packaged in novel populist ways.

  • Right-wing populism and feminist politics: The case of Law and Justice in Poland

    This article disentangles the complexity of right-wing populism and feminist politics using an original framework based on inputs (representative claims) and outputs (policies) to examine a Polish case. In 2015, the right-wing populist Law and Justice party (PiS) formed a single-party majority government led by a female prime minister after winning the elections. PiS is ideologically conservative, promotes traditional and national values and is supported by the Catholic Church. Additionally, it is hostile towards what it calls ‘gender-ideology’ and is reluctant to implement feminist policies. This article also reveals that PiS represents conservative women’s interests and advocates an aspect of conservative feminism, therefore possessing a duality in its claims and policies. Overall, this article draws inferences about the nexus between social conservatism, populism and feminism, and thus seeks to contribute to the scholarly literature by examining a timely issue against the backdrop of rising populism, illiberalism and anti-gender campaigns.

  • Rights-oriented or responsibility-oriented? Two subtypes of populism in contemporary China

    Abstract The present investigation engages in the debate on populism from a demand/acceptance perspective by providing examinations and explanations within the Chinese context. It clarifies the heterogeneity of China’s populism, separating rights-oriented populism, which shares the element of anti-elitism with the populism found in most European nations, from responsibility-oriented populism, which has ideological roots in China’s specific socio-political contexts. The study finds responsibility-oriented populism to be predominant in China (occupying 76.92% of the populist sample), with rights-oriented populism only representing 18.04% of the populist respondents. Using these results, we examine associations between each type of populism and a series of political ideations. Statistics suggest that China’s rights-oriented populism is negatively correlated with system justification and national identification. In contrast, stronger responsibility-oriented populism associates with higher system justification, greater national identification, more satisfaction with life, and higher right-wing authoritarianism. Finally, implications for research on populism and on China’s public opinion are discussed.

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