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The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe
Playing the Nationalist Card


  • Date Published: August 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107437067

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the fascinating interplay of party and media behavior to explain one of the most important phenomena in Western Europe: the rise of far-right parties. To account for the divergent electoral fortunes of these parties, the book examines how political parties and the mass media have dealt with growing public concerns over national identity. Mainstream politicians chose to 'play the nationalist card', creating opportunities for the entry of far-right parties into the political system. In some cases, the media gave outsized exposure to such parties, allowing them to capitalize on these opportunities; in other cases, they ignored them, blocking their entry into the political system. Using elite interviews, content analysis, and primary documents to trace identity politics since the 1980s, this book presents an original interpretation of identity politics and media behavior in Austria, Germany, Greece, and France since the 1980s.

    • Incorporates systematic comparative analysis of how the media deal with the far right across Western Europe, along with a consideration of motivations for their behavior
    • Provides a thorough qualitative analysis of identity politics in major West European countries
    • Proposes a novel theory about the factors affecting the evolution of new parties
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Antonis Ellinas transcends conventional accounts of the Far Right's success and failure in this lucidly written book. Many scholars have suggested that the media shapes the development of these parties, but Ellinas shows exactly why and how it does. His argument that mainstream parties, by first playing and later retracting the nationalist card, contributed to the success of the Far Right is novel, persuasive, and disturbing. And by taking a temporal perspective, Ellinas moves beyond the snapshot approaches that have dominated the subfield. This book – both rigorous and sensitive to historical context – will not only reshape our understanding of Far Right parties. By linking the Far Right phenomenon to broader issues in party politics, political communication, and nationalism and immigration, Ellinas demonstrates its relevance to students of comparative politics more generally.' David Art, Tufts University

    'The impact of the national media on the electoral fortunes of extreme right-wing parties has been an unduly neglected explanatory factor in the political science literature. Ellinas's original and well-documented comparative-historical analysis of four Western European countries brilliantly remedies this lacuna, showing how the media can exert a decisive influence on the trajectory of extreme right-wing parties at a critical phase of their development. This excellent book will constitute essential reading for scholars working on the extreme right in Western and Eastern Europe alike.' Giovanni Capoccia, University of Oxford

    'Antonis Ellinas provides a first-rate analysis of the Far Right in Western Europe. Support for the Far Right in European politics has risen dramatically over the past decades and academic attention has increased accordingly. The empirical focus of The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe is thus of both practical and scholarly import. More important, however, is that although there is already a sizeable literature on the topic, Ellinas provides a fresh take on the subject matter, emphasizing political rather than sociological and economic variables.' Sheri Berman, Barnard College, Columbia University

    '… the arguments the author offers are original and definitely contribute to the issue of the far right in Europe … the language, style and organisation of the book are successful … this is definitely a very valuable resource, especially for students of comparative politics who might be dealing with European politics, party politics or the radical right.' Pinar Sayan, Political Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107437067
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 26 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Explaining far right trajectories
    3. Party and media politics in Austria: the rise of the FPO
    4. Competing over German identity: conservatives and the non-visible far right
    5. Greek nationalists: from mainstream to the margins?
    6. The growth, persistence and fall of the French National Front
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Antonis A. Ellinas, University of Cyprus
    Antonis A. Ellinas is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cyprus. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and his BA from Hamilton College. He is the author of The European Commission and Bureaucratic Autonomy (Cambridge University Press, 2012), with Ezra Suleiman. His work has appeared in Comparative Politics, the Journal of European Public Policy, the Journal of Common Market Studies, and West European Politics, among others.

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