The Radical Right: More than a Topic of Political Science

  • Klaus Wahl


The introductory chapter describes the uncoordinated efforts of various sciences to understand the preconditions, ideologies, organizations, and actions of the radical right. It then presents the main perspectives of the book: a vertical analysis of the biopsychosocial levels of causes, catalysts, and triggers of radical right-wing phenomena, as well as a horizontal comparison of the radical right in different countries. The book attempts to weigh the influence of the various factors and to show better starting points for the prevention of elements of the radical right like xenophobia, racism, authoritarianism, and violence. In light of the widespread and potentially confusing terminology, proposals are made for naming the various parts of the right-wing political spectrum from the populist right to the extremist and totalitarian right.


  1. Afonso, A., & Rennwald, L. (2018). Social class and the changing welfare state agenda of radical right parties in Europe. In P. Manow, B. Palier, & H. Schwander (Eds.), Welfare democracies and party politics: Explaining electoral dynamics in times of changing welfare capitalism (pp. 171–196). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, H. (1973). The origins of totalitarianism. San Diego, CA: Harvest, Harcourt.Google Scholar
  3. Arzheimer, K. (2019). Conceptual confusion is not always a bad thing—The curious case of European radical right studies. In K. Marker, A. Schmitt, & J. Sirsch (Eds.), Demokratie und Entscheidung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.Google Scholar
  4. Berbuir, N., Lewandowsky, M., & Siri, J. (2015). The AfD and its sympathisers: Finally a right-wing populist movement in Germany? German Politics, 24(2), 154–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berg, M., Schor, P., & Soto, I. (2014). The weight of words: Writing about race in the United States and Europe. The American Historical Review, 119(3), 800–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berlet, C., & Lyons, M. N. (2000). Right-wing populism in America: Too close for comfort. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  7. von Beyme, K. (2013). Right-wing extremism in Western Europe. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. von Beyme, K. (2015). Transforming transformation theory. In M. Minkenberg (Ed.), Transforming the transformation? The East European radical right in the political process (pp. 13–26). Abingdon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Birch, K. (2015). We have never been neoliberal: A manifesto for a doomed youth. Alresford: Zero Books.Google Scholar
  10. Blee, K. M., & Creasap, K. A. (2010). Conservative and right-wing movements. Annual Review of Sociology, 36(1), 269–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bobbio, N. (1997). Left and right: The significance of a political distinction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bühl, W. L. (1982). Struktur und Dynamik des menschlichen Sozialverhaltens. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar
  13. Cahill, D., Cooper, M., Konings, M., & Primrose, D. (2018). Introduction: Approaches to neoliberalism. In D. Cahill, M. Cooper, M. Konings, & D. Primrose (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of neoliberalism (pp. xxii–xxxix). London: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Centola, D., Becker, J., Brackbill, D., & Baronchelli, A. (2018). Experimental evidence for tipping points in social convention. Science, 360(6393), 1116–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diamond, L. (2015). Facing up to the democratic recession. Journal of Democracy, 26(1), 141–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eatwell, R. (2003). Fascism: A history. London: Pimlico-Random House.Google Scholar
  17. Erel, U. (2018). Saving and reproducing the nation: Struggles around right-wing politics of social reproduction, gender and race in austerity Europe. Women’s Studies International Forum, 68, 173–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Foa, R. S., & Mounk, Y. (2017). The signs of deconsolidation. Journal of Democracy, 28(1), 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fredrickson, G. M. (2015). Racism: A short history. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Freeden, M. (1998). Is nationalism a distinct ideology? Political Studies, 46(4), 748–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Giddens, A. (1994). Beyond left and right: The future of radical politics. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  22. Greenberg, J., & Jonas, E. (2003). Psychological motives and political orientation—The left, the right, and the rigid: Comment on Jost et al. (2003). Psychological Bulletin, 129(3), 376–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hawkins, K., Riding, S., & Mudde, C. (2012). Measuring populist attitudes. Political concepts. Committee on concepts and methods. Working paper series 55. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from
  24. Hoffman, B. (2006). Inside terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hogan, J., & Haltinner, K. (2015). Floods, invaders, and parasites: Immigration threat narratives and right-wing populism in the USA, UK and Australia. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 36(5), 520–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hooghe, L., & Marks, G. (2017). Cleavage theory meets Europe’s crises: Lipset, Rokkan, and the transnational cleavage. Journal of European Public Policy, 1350–1763. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from
  27. Kitschelt, H. (2007). Growth and persistence of the radical right in postindustrial democracies: Advances and challenges in comparative research. West European Politics, 30(5), 1176–1206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kitschelt, H., & McGann, A. J. (1995). The radical right in Western Europe. A comparative analysis. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  29. Langenbacher, N., & Schellenberg, B. (2011). Introduction: An anthology about the manifestations and development of the radical right in Europe. In N. Langenbacher & B. Schellenberg (Eds.), Is Europe on the “right” path? Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Europe (pp. 11–25). Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  30. Laqueur, W. (2000). The new terrorism: Fanaticism and the arms of mass destruction. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Levitsky, S., & Way, L. (2015). The myth of democratic recession. Journal of Democracy, 26(1), 45–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lipset, S. M., Lazarsfeld, P., Barton, A., & Linz, J. (1962). The psychology of voting: An analysis of political behavior. In G. Lindzey (Ed.), Handbook of social psychology (pp. 1124–1175). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  33. Merkl, P. H., & Weinberg, L. (Eds.). (2014). The revival of right wing extremism in the nineties. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Minkenberg, M. (2008). The radical right in Europe: An overview. Gütersloh: Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung.Google Scholar
  35. Minkenberg, M. (2011). The radical right in Europe today: Trends and patterns in East and West. In N. Langenbacher & B. Schellenberg (Eds.), Is Europe on the “right” path? Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Europe (pp. 37–55). Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  36. Minkenberg, M. (2013). Die europäische radikale Rechte und Fremdenfeindlichkeit in West und Ost: Trends, Muster und Herausforderungen. In R. Melzer & S. Serafin (Eds.), Rechtsextremismus in Europa. Länderanalysen, Gegenstrategien und arbeitsmarktorientierte Ausstiegsarbeit (pp. 9–37). Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  37. Mudde, C. (2004). The populist zeitgeist. Government and Opposition, 39(3), 541–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mudde, C. (2011). Radical right parties in Europe: What, who, why? Participation, 34(3), 12–15.Google Scholar
  39. Mudde, C. (2015). Conclusion. Some further thoughts on populism. In C. de la Torre (Ed.), The promise and perils of populism: Global perspectives (pp. 431–451). Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar
  40. Mudde, C. (2017). Introduction to the populist radical right. In C. Mudde (Ed.), The populist radical right: A reader (pp. 1–10). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Muis, J., & Immerzeel, T. (2017). Causes and consequences of the rise of populist radical right parties and movements in Europe. Current Sociology, 65(6), 909–930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Müller, J.-W. (2016). Was ist Populismus? Ein Essay. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  43. Needham, I., Kingma, M., O’Brien-Pallas, L., McKenna, K., Tucker, R., & Oud, N. (2016). Preface. In I. Needham, K. McKenna, O. Frank, & N. Ouds (Eds.), Violence in the health sector. Proceedings of the fifth international conference on violence in the health sector (pp. 5–6). Dwingeloo: KAVANAH.Google Scholar
  44. Nietzsche, F. (2006). On the genealogy of morality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Ravndal, J. A. (2016). Right-wing terrorism and violence in Western Europe: Introducing the RTV dataset. Perspectives on Terrorism, 10(3), 2–15.Google Scholar
  46. Rydgren, J. (2007). The sociology of the radical right. Annual Review of Sociology, 33, 241–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rydgren, J. (2013). Introduction: Class politics and the radical right. In J. Rydgren (Ed.), Class politics and the radical right (pp. 1–9). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  48. Rydgren, J. (2018). The radical right. An introduction. In J. Rydgren (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the radical right (pp. 1–13). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Schmid, A. P., & Jongman, A. J. (1988). Political terrorism: A new guide to actors, authors, concepts, data bases, theories, and literature. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Smedley, A. (2017). Racism. In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from
  51. Smith, K. B., Oxley, D. R., Hibbing, M. V., Alford, J. R., & Hibbing, J. R. (2011). Linking genetics and political attitudes: Reconceptualizing political ideology. Political Psychology, 32(3), 369–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tollefson, J. (2016). Researchers baffled by nationalist surge. Economic woes wrought by globalization are only part of the cause. Nature, 540(7632), 182–183.Google Scholar
  53. Venugopal, R. (2015). Neoliberalism as concept. Economy and Society, 44(2), 165–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wahl, K. (2000). Kritik der soziologischen Vernunft. Sondierungen zu einer Tiefensoziologie. Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft.Google Scholar
  55. Wahl, K. (2005). Roots of xenophobia and violence against migrants. Personality, parents, pedagogues, peers, and emotions. In D. Hoerder, Y. M. Hébert, & I. Schmitt (Eds.), Negotiating transcultural lives: Belongings and social capital among youth in comparative perspective (pp. 59–68). Göttingen: V&R unipress.Google Scholar
  56. Wahl, K., Ottinger-Gaßebner, M., Kleinert, C., & Renninger, S.-V. (2005). Entwicklungs- und Sozialisationsbedingungen für Toleranz. In Bertelsmann Stiftung, Bertelsmann Forschungsgruppe Politik (Ed.), Strategien gegen Rechtsextremismus (Vol. 1, pp. 16–79). Gütersloh: Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung.Google Scholar
  57. Walter, V. (1969). Terror and resistance: A study of political violence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Werkmann, C., & Gherghina, S. (2018). Organized for parliament? Explaining the electoral success of radical right parties in post-communist Europe. Government and Opposition, 53(3), 461–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zick, A., Wolf, C., Küpper, B., Davidov, E., Schmidt, P., & Heitmeyer, W. (2008). The syndrome of group-focused enmity. The interrelation of prejudices tested with multiple cross-sectional and panel data. Journal of Social Issues, 64(2), 363–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Wahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychosocial Analyses and Prevention - Information System (PAPIS)MunichGermany

Personalised recommendations