The rise of rightwing populism has brought into question prevailing assumptions in social science about multicultural Europe. In this compelling study of populist politics, Mabel Berezin argues that the emergence of the movement in the 1990s was a historical surprise rather than an expected event. She questions whether rightwing populism would exist in the absence of the Maastricht Treaty and the subsequent intensification of cultural and economic Europeanization. Using an innovative methodology, Berezin analyzes the French National Front in relation to the broader context of Europeanization and globalization. She unpacks the political and cultural processes that evoke the thin commitments characterizing citizen support, and shows that we cannot make sense of rightwing populism without considering the historical legacies and practices, both national and international, within which it arises. This book makes a novel argument about the relationship between democracy and political and social security.
Mabel Berezin is Associate Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. She is the author of Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Inter-war Italy (1997) which was awarded the J. David Greenstone Prize for Best Book of 1996-1997 in Politics and History by the American Political Science Association and named an Outstanding Academic Book of 1997 by Choice. She is also co-editor of Europe Without Borders (2003) and has written numerous articles on European politics, culture and history.
Introduction: the rightwing populist moment as historical surprise; Part I. Situating the Rightwing Populist Moment: 1. Cinderella in the polis: rightwing populism as historical phenomenon and political concept; 2. Experience and events: reformulating the rightwing populist moment; Part II. The Trajectory of Thin Commitments: France and the National Front: 3. Beginning on the margins: the French first!; 4. 'Neither right nor left: French!': the campaign for political normalcy; 5. The paradox of defeat: the rise and fall and rise of the French National Front; 6. The 2002 presidential elections: the fabulous destiny of Jean-Marie Le Pen; 7. The 'new' April 21: from the presidential elections to the referendum on the European constitution; Part III. Theorizing Europe and Rightwing Populism: 8. Reasserting the national against Europe: politics and perception; 9. Discovering the national in Europe; Conclusion: the future of illiberal politics: democracy and security.