Social Mobility and Far Right Party Support in Western Europe

About this Session


Fri. 08.04. 10:00



Speaker: Alexi Gugushvili

What explains the rise of far-right parties across Western Europe? Most of the literature emphasizes recent increases in economic and/or cultural insecurity, either with reference to the level of insecurity or changes that are likely to feed this insecurity. In this study, we wish to emphasize the role of the relative deprivation arising from downwards class mobility. Drawing on an extensive sociological literature on class mobility which has so far been ignored by far-right party studies and using European Social Survey (ESS) waves 1 to 5 (2002-2010), we employ statistical models which are able to distinguish empirically between the effect of class origins, mobility, and destination on far-right voting. Our preliminary results are broadly consistent with our hypothesis of the positive effect of downward mobility on radical right voting. We also uncover significant heterogeneity in the relevance of class mobility depending on gender, age, and education. Taken together, our findings go beyond the debate between absolute economic and cultural insecurity to suggest that social decline can be an important aspect in understanding the recent rise of far-right parties in Europe.