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Politics, Economics, and the Far Right in Europe: Social Psychological Perspectives

posted Nov 17, 2019, 12:06 PM by Sara Debora Topciu   [ updated Nov 2, 2020, 7:02 AM ]
Vassilis Pavlopoulos1
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 2
, pp. 43-57
Date: December 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: This paper adopts a social psychological perspective to review individual and socio-political factors accounting for the resurgence of the far right in Europe, in light of the economic crisis. The paper addresses three main questions in relation to this review. First, what psychological processes translate unfavorable contextual attributes into perceptions of uncertainty, threat and ruthless competition that may trigger ideological attitudes, behaviors, and policies relevant to the far right? Second, what strategies do far-right leaders implement in order to counter accusations of fascism and racism? And third, what is the role of the mainstream political system and the media with regard to the legitimization of right-wing extremism and populism? The paper draws upon examples from different member countries of the European Union, with an emphasis on Greece. It is concluded that European citizens should remain vigilant towards the far right, though avoiding oversimplifications and emotionally driven reactions that would allow corrupt, opportunistic leaders to amass political power by exploiting generalized fear against the far right. 

Keywords: Far right, politics, economics, social psychological perspective, Europe.

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Sara Debora Topciu,
Nov 2, 2020, 7:01 AM