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Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times


  • 10 b/w illus. 4 maps 6 tables
  • Page extent: 324 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.52 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521547840)

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.

• A new take on rightwing populist politics which goes beyond traditional political science approaches to the subject • Mabel Berezin is a prominent historical sociologist and prize-winning author • Illustrated with political campaign posters, cartoons and photographs


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.


'Illiberal Politics provides a deeply original interpretation of the rise of the French Front National in the context of Europeanization and globalization. This book is a wonderful demonstration of Berezin's remarkable interdisciplinary reach. Her event and identity-centered approach will sustain new types of dialogues between sociologists, political scientists, and others students of political culture.' Michele Lamont, Harvard University and author of The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class, and Immigration

'Mabel Berezin's brilliant new book offers a subtle but penetrating explanation for the rise of right-wing populist movements in wealthy nations. The imposition of neoliberal models of economic development requires elites to renegotiate the social contract between citizens and the state, thereby creating a climate of insecurity and vulnerability that nationalist politicians exploit to win elections and gain power. Her insightful analysis reveals that neo-fascist, anti-immigrant movements are not just blind expressions of ancient prejudices, but sociologically predictable consequences of a globalizing world order.' Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University

'The study of contemporary European politics has been sorely missing a cultural perspective. Berezin brilliantly fills this gap, simultaneously providing a subtle and provocative explanation for the contrasting influence of right populism in different countries and contributing new concepts and methodological tools for the analysis of political phenomena.' Juan Díez Medrano, University of Barcelona

'In the crowded field of books published on Europe's right-wing populism, this study by Mabel Berezin proves to be an impressive new addition. … a fascinating and insightful portrayal … this work is clearly an important contribution to the field and one that brings fresh ideas to a decades-old debate. The book is to be highly recommended.' Journal of Common Market Studies

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