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Breaching the social contract: crises of democratic representation and patterns of extreme right party support

Halikiopoulou, D. and Vasilopoulou, S. (2018) Breaching the social contract: crises of democratic representation and patterns of extreme right party support. Government and Opposition, 53 (1). pp. 26-50. ISSN 1477-7053

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/gov.2015.43

Abstract/Summary

Why has the extreme right Greek Golden Dawn, a party with clear links to fascism experienced a rise defying all theories that claim that such a party is unlikely to win in post-WWII Europe? And, if we accept that economic crisis is an explanation for this, why has such a phenomenon not occurred in other countries that have similar conducive conditions, such as Portugal and Spain? This article addresses this puzzle by (a) carrying out a controlled comparison of Greece, Portugal and Spain and (b) showing that the rise of the extreme right is not a question of intensity of economic crisis. Rather it is the nature of the crisis, i.e. economic versus overall crisis of democratic representation that facilitates the rise of the extreme right. We argue that extreme right parties are more likely to experience an increase in their support when economic crisis culminates into an overall crisis of democratic representation. Economic crisis is likely to become a political crisis when severe issues of governability impact upon the ability of the state to fulfil its social contract obligations. This breach of the social contract is accompanied by declining levels of trust in state institutions, resulting in party system collapse.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:43710
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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