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Euroscepticism and the radical right: domestic strategies and party system dynamics

Vasilopoulou, Sofia (2010) Euroscepticism and the radical right: domestic strategies and party system dynamics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis analyses the phenomenon of party-based Euroscepticism with specific reference to radical right parties. It provides a bridge between the literatures on party behaviour, radical right parties and the study of Euroscepticism. Challenging the notion that parties belonging to the same party family display similar positions on European integration, it argues that radical right parties do not adopt a uniform EU stance. By putting forward a typology of radical right Euroscepticism, the thesis establishes that radical right European positions differ in terms of content, strength and motivation. In explaining this divergence, the thesis adopts a framework of party strategic behaviour and argues that party positions on Europe are related to the endogeneity of the party system and the dynamics of inter party competition. In particular, the thesis shows that a radical right party’s position on European integration as well as the way in which it accommodates the European issue in its discourse is a function of the party’s wider agenda in the national party system. The latter is developed with reference to (1) party type and (2) its predominant aims and objectives at the domestic level. The thesis demonstrates that the European issue is integral to the radical right’s discursive toolkit but the ways in which the party chooses to debate the issue and/or politicise it largely depend on the national context. This thesis employs a nested research design as a mixed methods strategy joining the study of the wider universe of European radical right parties with intensive case study qualitative analysis. It commences with an overview of the general patterns and dynamics of radical right Euroscepticism both across Europe and within the political arenas where the three party case studies operate. It proceeds by providing an in depth study of three radical right parties during the period 1999-2009, including the French National Front, the Greek Popular Orthodox Rally and the Italian National Alliance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute

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