The emergence of Radical Right Parties (RRPs) has been one of the most studied European political phenomena in the last thirty years, producing a prolific flow of research on both the ideological outlook of the radical right party family and the characteristics of its voters. Nonetheless, the academic debate on these issues is far from being appeased. The following work contributes to the debate by looking at the rise of RRPs in Europe through the perspective of their ideological outlook and by investigating both the supply side and the demand side by means of a data-driven machine learning approach. The literature on RRPs ideological outlook has been prolific and discordant, yet most scholars tend to agree on two main core ideological features that appropriately characterize the radical right family and set it apart from others: nativism and authoritarianism. These core features are complemented by other ancillary elements, on which the debate is more open. The most discussed example is represented by the evolution of RRPs’ positions on economic issues. On this concern, some scholars claim that we are facing a real differentiation within the radical right that needs to be included in the ideological definition of the family, while others argue we are witnessing a series of blurrying processes that intervene on secondary issues holding limited definitory power. As far as radical right voters are concerned, their behavior has been analyzed under many different lenses, still the only condition on which all scholars agree is the centrality of individual attitudes towards immigration in shaping radical right voting. In a few words, we describe the awkward situation where ideologically complex parties, which are not considered single-issue parties, seem to mobilize voters on the basis of a single issue. The aim of the study is to put theoretical studies on the radical right ideology to an empirical test, starting from party-level data and by checking whether those who have been defined as the core features of the radical right family have a crucial role in defining the ideological borders of the radical right or not. Then, we define the potential voting base by following the ideological characterization that emerged empirically. Results confirm the centrality of both nativism and authoritarianism (and Euroscepticism, in addition) in shaping the radical right ideological outlook, while economic positions are the main division line that shapes heterogeneity within the family. The empirical clusters based on the criteria defined previously produce a classification which is coherent with the ones provided by the literature. Results also give empirical evidence of a process of radicalization that characterizes a group of center-right parties, which progressively get close to nativist and authoritarian positions, in continuity with the findings of studies on center-right radicalization. We also confirm that the emergence of a nativist, authoritarian and Eurosceptic set of attitudes among the public, which significantly shapes the probability to vote for a RRP.

AM I RADICAL, RIGHT? THE RADICAL RIGHT FAMILY IDEOLOGICAL OUTLOOK AND RADICAL RIGHT ATTITUDE AMONG THE PUBLIC / F. Piacentini ; tutor: C. Vezzoni ; phd director: M. Jessoula. - : . Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche, 2022. ((34. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2021.

AM I RADICAL, RIGHT? THE RADICAL RIGHT FAMILY IDEOLOGICAL OUTLOOK AND RADICAL RIGHT ATTITUDE AMONG THE PUBLIC

F. Piacentini
2022

Abstract

The emergence of Radical Right Parties (RRPs) has been one of the most studied European political phenomena in the last thirty years, producing a prolific flow of research on both the ideological outlook of the radical right party family and the characteristics of its voters. Nonetheless, the academic debate on these issues is far from being appeased. The following work contributes to the debate by looking at the rise of RRPs in Europe through the perspective of their ideological outlook and by investigating both the supply side and the demand side by means of a data-driven machine learning approach. The literature on RRPs ideological outlook has been prolific and discordant, yet most scholars tend to agree on two main core ideological features that appropriately characterize the radical right family and set it apart from others: nativism and authoritarianism. These core features are complemented by other ancillary elements, on which the debate is more open. The most discussed example is represented by the evolution of RRPs’ positions on economic issues. On this concern, some scholars claim that we are facing a real differentiation within the radical right that needs to be included in the ideological definition of the family, while others argue we are witnessing a series of blurrying processes that intervene on secondary issues holding limited definitory power. As far as radical right voters are concerned, their behavior has been analyzed under many different lenses, still the only condition on which all scholars agree is the centrality of individual attitudes towards immigration in shaping radical right voting. In a few words, we describe the awkward situation where ideologically complex parties, which are not considered single-issue parties, seem to mobilize voters on the basis of a single issue. The aim of the study is to put theoretical studies on the radical right ideology to an empirical test, starting from party-level data and by checking whether those who have been defined as the core features of the radical right family have a crucial role in defining the ideological borders of the radical right or not. Then, we define the potential voting base by following the ideological characterization that emerged empirically. Results confirm the centrality of both nativism and authoritarianism (and Euroscepticism, in addition) in shaping the radical right ideological outlook, while economic positions are the main division line that shapes heterogeneity within the family. The empirical clusters based on the criteria defined previously produce a classification which is coherent with the ones provided by the literature. Results also give empirical evidence of a process of radicalization that characterizes a group of center-right parties, which progressively get close to nativist and authoritarian positions, in continuity with the findings of studies on center-right radicalization. We also confirm that the emergence of a nativist, authoritarian and Eurosceptic set of attitudes among the public, which significantly shapes the probability to vote for a RRP.
VEZZONI, CRISTIANO
JESSOULA, MATTEO ROBERTO CARLO
Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica
Settore SPS/11 - Sociologia dei Fenomeni Politici
AM I RADICAL, RIGHT? THE RADICAL RIGHT FAMILY IDEOLOGICAL OUTLOOK AND RADICAL RIGHT ATTITUDE AMONG THE PUBLIC / F. Piacentini ; tutor: C. Vezzoni ; phd director: M. Jessoula. - : . Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche, 2022. ((34. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2021.
Doctoral Thesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/945096
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