POL S 447 A: Advanced Seminar In Comparative Politics

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 12:00pm - 2:10pm
* *
Sebastian Mayer
Topic: Causes and Consequences of European Far-Right Politics

Syllabus Description:

Political Science 447: Far-Right Politics in the European Context

Summer B-Term 2021


MTWThF 12pm-2:10pm

Delivered remotely via Zoom (mostly synchronous, with asynchronous elements): Synchronous meeting Mondays-Thursdays; no synchronous meetings Fridays

Instructor: Sebastian Mayer

Email: sebmayer@uw.edu

Office Hours: By appointment, online via Zoom: https://washington.zoom.us/j/96855672774 

*** Syllabus subject to change***


Course Overview & Objectives:

Over the last decade, support for far-right political parties has increased throughout Europe. Brexit, and the influence of reactionary parties who favor the cultural majority, like Front National/National Rally (France), Alternative für Deutschland (Germany), the Freedom Party (the Netherlands), and the Progress Party (Austria and Norway), make clear that the right wing is alive and well in Europe. In this course, we will begin by examining competing conceptualizations and typologies of the far-right in order to understand what the far-right is and what it is not, and where it differs from the mainstream conservatism in Europe. We will then move to competing explanations for the recent success of these parties and will look at some of the implications and consequences for European politics that the rise of far-right politics brings about. The course concludes by exploring multiple case studies of these parties, including the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Front National/National Rally, and the Sweden Democrats. We will apply the concepts studied during the course to these parties and see if their politics are similar or vary across countries, and what this means for European politics more broadly.


A Note on Online Learning

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic affects us all. It forces us to conduct this course, originally designed as an in-person-class, as a purely online-learning space. In addition, you might find yourself personally in difficult and worrisome situations, which make it harder to study and concentrate. As your instructor, I plan to be flexible, patient, and compassionate with you. The main goal is to allow for a positive learning experience despite the continued uncertainties surrounding this quarter.


General Expectations and Class Policies

  • Students are expected to come to class and complete the assigned readings prior to class. Seminar sessions will assume that students have read the assigned readings. Students are also expected to participate in class discussions during sessions. Attendance is necessary but not sufficient for obtaining participation credit.
  • Students come from a variety of backgrounds with a wide array of life experiences, It is vital that we respect individual differences, divergent beliefs, and a variety of worldviews. Some of the course material may be at odds with your personal beliefs. Please approach the course content and others’ views with respect and sensitivity. Online interactions should follow the "netiquette" guidelines of the university. Always treat your peers and instructor respectfully.
  • Plagiarism is strictly prohibited. Academic misconduct is considered a serious offense at the University of Washington and subject to disciplinary action. University policies and guidelines regarding cheating and plagiarism can be found at https://depts.washington.edu/grading/pdf/AcademicResponsibility.pdf.

    Notice: The University has a license agreement with SimCheck, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources. Your instructor may use the service in this class by requiring that assignments are submitted electronically to be checked by SimCheck. The SimCheck Report will indicate the amount of original text in your work and whether all material that you quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source is appropriately referenced.

  • If there is an emergency or ongoing circumstances that severely affect your ability to perform in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so I can find accommodations.
  • This course will comply fully with the Americans With Disabilities Act and all relevant university procedures. If you require accommodation because of a disability please consult the university’s procedures here: http://depts.washington.edu/uwdrs/


Assignments & Grading

Participation (25%)

As stated above, you are expected to have read all of the assigned material before class and come to class prepared to regularly contribute to class discussion. This is a seminar-style course, thus your active participation in class is essential to its success, and is weighted accordingly. If students come to seminar unprepared, the quality of discussion will be radically diminished.

Weekly Memos (40%)

At the end of every week, students are required to write a 1-2 page, single spaced reflection memo on the readings of the past week. The memos should be analytical in nature rather than just summarizing the readings. They can reflect, for example, on the strength of arguments made by the authors, competing theories of the same phenomenon, or the compatibility of different approaches in the study of far-right movements that we discuss. These papers are due by 9pm every Sunday via Canvas.

Final Paper (35%)

Students will complete a final paper at the end of this class (5-6 pages, double-spaced) that will ask them to take into account what they have learned in this course and answer a prompt distributed ahead of time. The paper will be due during the last week of class.


Privacy/FERPA Statement

Large parts of this course are scheduled to run synchronously at your scheduled class time via Zoom. The University of Washington and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts.


Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for the accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/) (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/) (Links to an external site.).


Additional Remote Notes

If, as a UW student, you are living outside of the United States while taking courses remotely, you are subject to the laws of your local jurisdiction. Local authorities may limit your access to course material and take punitive action towards you. Unfortunately, the University of Washington has no authority over the laws in your jurisdictions or how local authorities enforce those laws.

If you are taking UW courses outside of the United States, you have reason to exercise caution when enrolling in courses that cover topics and issues censored in your jurisdiction. If you have concerns regarding a course or courses that you have registered for, please contact your academic advisor who will assist you in exploring options.


Tentative Schedule (subject to change)*

Note: All readings & audio/visual materials will be available online, no textbooks required.


Week 0*: July 18-25, 2021

*B-Term starts Thursday, July 22

Introduction to the Course & European Far-Right Politics


Thursday, July 22

First Zoom meeting to go over syllabus, get to know each other, and clarify any open questions about the class


            Friday, July 23

Archick, Kristin. (2021). “The European Union: Questions and Answers.” Congressional Research Service.

New York Times, “Europe’s Rising Far Right: A Guide to the Most Prominent Parties.”

BBC, “Europe and Right-Wing Nationalism: A Country-By-Country Guide.”

Kluth, Andreas. (2021). “A Primer on Germany’s Election Year: Watch the Palette.” Bloomberg News, February 17, 2021.


Week 1: July 26-August 1, 2021

What are we talking about? Toward a concept of the contemporary far-right in Europe


Monday, July 26

Levy, Carl. (1999). "Fascism, National Socialism, and Conservatives in Europe, 1914-1945: Issues for Comparativists." Contemporary European History, 8:1, pp. 97-126.

Griffin, Roger. (2000). "Interregnum or Endgame? The Radical Right in the Post-Fascist Era." Journal of Political Ideologies 5:2, pp. 163-178.

Berman, Sheri. (2004). “The Three Faces of Fascism.” World Policy Journal 2004 (Fall): 95- 100.


Tuesday, July 27

Mudde, Cas. (2007). “Constructing a Conceptual Framework” in Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 11-31.

Rooduijn, Matthijs. (2014). “The Nucleus of Populism: In Search of the Lowest Common Denominator.” Government and Opposition, 49(4):573 –99.

Van Kessel, S. (2014). “The Populist Cat-Dog: Applying the Concept of Populism to Contemporary European Party Systems.” Journal of Political Ideologies, 19 (1): 99-118.


Wednesday, July 28

Bonikowski, Bart. (2017). “Ethno-Nationalist Populism and the Mobilization of Collective Resentment.” The British Journal of Sociology 68 (S1): 181-213.

Eger, Maureen A. and Sarah Valdez. (2015). “Neo-nationalism in Western Europe.” European Sociological Review 31(1): 115-130.


Thursday, July 29

Kalyvas, Stathis N. and Kees van Kersbergen. (2010). “Christian Democracy.” Annual Review of Political Science 13: 183-209.

Forlenza, Rosario. (2017). “The Politics of the Abendland: Christian Democracy and the Idea of Europe after the Second World War.” Contemporary European History 26(2): 261-286.

Müller, Jan-Werner. (2018). “Europe Forgot What ‘Conservative’ Means.” Foreign Policy, March 21, 2018.


            Friday, July 30

Work on Response Paper 1

Get started on Week 2 readings


Week 2: August 2-8, 2021

Explanations for the rise of the far-right in Europe


Monday, August 2

Van der Brug, Wouter and Meindert Fennema. (2007). “What Causes People to Vote for a Radical-Right Party? A Review of Recent Work.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 19(4): 474-487.

Rico, Guillem and Eva Anduiza. (2017). “Economic correlates of populist attitudes: an analysis of nine European countries in the aftermath of the great recession.” Acta Politica November 28, 2017: 1-27.

Poli, Maria Daniela. (2016). “Contemporary Populism and the Economic Crisis in Western Europe.” Baltic Journal of Political Science Dec. 16 (5): 40-52.

Gidron, Noam and Jonathan J.B. Mijs. (2019). “Do Changes in Material Circumstances Drive Support for Populist Radical Parties?” European Sociological Review Vol. 0(0): 1-14.

Watch: “The European Debt Crisis Visualized”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbcvdKwmCtg.


Tuesday, August 3

Ruiz-Rufino, Ruber and Sonia Alonso. (2017). “Democracy without choice: citizens’ perceptions of government autonomy during the eurozone crisis.” European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 56(2): 320–345.

van Elsas, Erika J., Armen Hakhverdian & Wouter van der Brug. (2016). “United against a common foe? The nature and origins of Euroscepticism among left-wing and right-wing citizens,” Western European Politics Vol. 39, No. 6 (2016), pp. 1181-1204.

Vasilopoulou, Sofia. (2011). “European Integration and the Radical Right: Three Patterns of Opposition.” Government and Opposition 46(2): 223-244.


Wednesday, August 4

Werts, Hans, Scheepers, Peer and Marcel Lubbers. (2013). “Euro-skepticism and radical right-wing voting in Europe, 2002-2008. Social cleavages, socio-political attitudes and contextual characteristics determining voting for the radical right.” European Union Politics 14(2) 183–205.

Kriesi, Hanspeter et al. (2006). “Globalization and the Transformation of the National Political Space: Six European Countries Compared.” European Journal of Political Research 45: 921-56.

Bornschier, Simon. (2012): “Why a Right-Wing Populist Party Emerged in France but not in Germany: Cleavages and Actors in the Formation of a New Cultural Divide.” European Political Science Review 4(1): 121-145.


Thursday, August 5

Bustikova, Lenka. (2014). “Revenge of the Radical Right.” Comparative Political Studies, 47(12): 1738–1765.

Oesch, Daniel. (2008). “Explaining Workers’ Support for Right-Wing Populist Parties in Western Europe: Evidence from Austria, Belgium, France, Norway, and Switzerland.” International Political Science Review Vol. 29 (3): 349-373.

Betz, Hans-Georg. (2008). “Against the ‘Green Totalitarianism’: Anti-Islamic Nativism in Contemporary Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe.” In Christina Schorl Liang, Europe for the Europeans: The Foreign and Security Policy of the Populist Radical Right, pp. 33-54.

Brils, Tobias, Jasper Muis, and Teodora Gaidyté. (2020). “Dissecting Electoral Support for the Far Right: A Comparison between Mature and Post-Communist European Democracies.” Government and Opposition, 1-28.


            Friday, August 6

Work on Response Paper 2

Get started on Week 3 readings


Week 3: August 9-15, 2021

Consequences of the rise of the far-right in Europe


Monday, August 9

Mierina, Inta & Ilze Koroleva. (2015). “Support for Far Right ideology and Anti-Immigrant Attitudes Among Youth in Europe: A Comparative Analysis.” The Sociological Review 63(2): 183-205.

Schmuck, Desiree, and Jörg Matthes. (2015). “How Anti-immigrant Right-wing Populist Advertisements Affect Young Voters: Symbolic Threats, Economic Threats and the Moderating Role of Education.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41:1577–1599.


            Tuesday, August 10

Akkerman, Tjitske. (2012). “Comparing Radical Right Parties in Government: Immigration and Integration Policies in Nine Countries (1996-2010).” West European Politics 35(3): 511-529.

Minkenberg, Michael. (2001). “The Radical Right in Public Office: Agenda-Setting and Policy Effects in Germany, France, Italy, and Austria.” West European Politics 24(4): 1- 21.

Van Spanje, Joost. (2010). ‘Contagious Parties: Anti-Immigration Parties and Their Impact on Other Parties’ Immigration Stances in Contemporary Western Europe.’ Party Politics, 16 (5): 563-586.


Wednesday, August 11

Albertazzi, Daniele, and Sean Mueller. (2013). “Populism and Liberal Democracy: Populists in Government in Austria, Italy, Poland and Switzerland.” Government and Opposition, 48(03):343–371.

De Lange, Sarah. (2012). “New Alliances: Why Mainstream Parties Govern with Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties.” Political Studies 60: 899-918.

Or: Transformation of European Politics Podcast: Episode 13: Sarah de Lange – The Radical Right in Government, https://soundcloud.com/user-467531770/episode-13-sarah-de-lange-the-radical-right-in-government.

Mudde, Cas. (2013). “Three Decades of Populist Radical Right Parties in Western Europe: So What?” European Journal of Political Research, 52(1): 1-19.


Thursday, August 12


Mudde, Cas. (2007). “Europe for the Europeans” in Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 158-183.

Minkus, Lara, Emanuel Deutschmann, and Jan Delhey. (2019). “A Trump Effect on the EU’s Popularity? The U.S. Presidential Election as a Natural Experiment.” Perspectives on Politics Vol. 17(2): 399-416.


            Friday, August 13

Work on Response Paper 3

Get started on Week 4 readings


Week 4: August 16-22, 2021

Case Studies: Alternative for Germany, Brexit, National Rally, Sweden Democrats


Monday, August 16

Arzheimer, Kai. (2015). “The AfD: Finally a Successful Right-Wing Populist Eurosceptic Party for Germany?” West European Politics 38(3): 535-556.

Decker, Frank. (2016). “The ‘Alternative for Germany’: Factors Behind its Emergence and Profile of a New Right-wing Populist Party.” German Politics and Society 34(2): 1-16.

Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger. (2016). “The ‘Alternative for Deutschland in the Electorate’: Between Single-Issue and Right-Wing Populist Party.” German Politics 26(1): 124-148.

Hansen, Michael and Jonathan Olsen. (2019). “Flesh of the Same Flesh: A Study of Voters for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the 2017 Federal Election.” German Politics 28(1), 1-19.


Tuesday, August 17

Hobolt, Sara B. (2016). “The Brexit vote: a divided nation, a divided continent.” Journal of European Public Policy Vol. 23, No. 9 (2016), pp. 1259-1277.

               Or: Transformation of European Politics Podcast: Episode 6: Sara Hobolt – Brexit and Euroscepticism, https://soundcloud.com/user-467531770/episode-6-sara-hobolt-brexit-and-euroscepticism.

Abreu, Maria and Özge Öner. (2020). “Disentangling the Brexit Vote: The Role of Economic, Social, and Cultural Contexts in Explaining the UK’s EU Referendum Vote.” EPA: Economy and Space 52(7), 1434-1456.

Green, Jane and Rosalind Shorrocks. (2021). “The Gender Backlash in the Vote for Brexit”. Political Behavior, 1-25.

Watch: Brexit Explainer Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eoDwvl0QGk.


Wednesday, August 18

Shields, James. (2014). “The Front National: From Systematic Opposition to Systemic Integration?” Modern & Contemporary France 22(4): 491-511.

Stockemer, Daniel and Mauro Barisione. (2017). “The ‘new’ discourse of the Front National under Marine Le Pen: A slight change with a big impact.” European Journal of Communication 32(2): 100-115.

Della Posta, Daniel J. (2013). “Competitive Threat, Intergroup Contact, or Both? Immigration and the Dynamics of Front National Voting in France.” Social Forces 92(1): 249-273.

Shields, James. (2017). “Electoral Performance and Policy Choices in the Front National.” Parliamentary Affairs, gsx041: 1-20.


Thursday, August 19

Mulinari, Diana and Anders Neergard. (2013). “We are Sweden Democrats because we care or others: Exploring racisms in the Swedish extreme right.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 21(1): 43-56.

Oskarson, Maria and Marie Demker. (2015). “Room for Realignment: The Working-Class Sympathy for Sweden Democrats.” Government and Opposition 50(4): 629-651.

Towns, Ann, Karlsson, Erika and Joshua Eyre. (2014). “The equality conundrum: Gender and nation in the ideology of the Sweden Democrats.” Party Politics 20(2): 237-247.

Hellström, Anders et al. (2012). “Nationalism vs. Nationalism: The Challenge of the Sweden Democrats in the Swedish Public Debate.” Government and Opposition 47(2): 186-205.


            Friday, August 20

Work on Response Paper 4

Work on Final Paper


Sunday, August 22

Final Paper due at 12pm

Response Paper 4 due at 9pm



Catalog Description: 
Selected comparative political problems, political institutions, processes, and issues in comparative perspective. Strongly
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
June 2, 2021 - 6:55am