The welfare agenda of the populist radical right in Western Europe: Combining welfare chauvinism, producerism and populism

Koen Abts, Emmanuel Dalle Mulle, Stijn Kessel, Elie Michel

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Abstract

Recent scholarship on the populist radical right tends to imprecisely describe the welfare agenda of this party family with reference to its key ideological characteristics of nativism, authoritarianism, and populism. We propose an alternative analytical framework that considers the multidimensionality of welfare state positions and the “deservingness criteria” that underlie ideas about welfare entitlement. Applying this framework to a sample of four European populist radical right parties, we conclude that three interrelated frames inform their welfare agenda. These parties, we argue, advocate social closure not only on the basis of the deservingness criterion of identity (welfare chauvinism), but also on criteria of control, attitude, and reciprocity (welfare producerism) and on an antagonism between the people and the establishment (welfare populism). Understanding the welfare agenda of the populist radical right requires us to move beyond welfare chauvinism and to reconsider the concept of welfare producerism and its interaction with welfare chauvinism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-40
JournalSwiss Political Science Review
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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