Democracy Fatigue

An East European Epidemy
$79.00 / €76.00/ £64.00
Publication date: 
August, 286 pages

Over the early 21st century, democracy worldwide has deteriorated significantly. At the same time, new populist forces have appeared that challenge democracies through legal reforms. The stark contrast between Eastern and Western Europe in this respect is the focus of this collection of essays.

The authors consider the 2008–2012 economic crisis to be at the root of the success of the populist parties and the rise of cultural backlash against liberal values. In turn, European governments’ responses to the crisis—mainly austerity measures demanded by IMF and the EU— help explain the disenchantment with the European Union. These policies made the wider public feel that they were being left out of politics, and populist parties promised to return power to them.

The contributors argue that polarization of the electorate can set in motion a radicalization that strengthens authoritarians at the expense of democrats. They also demonstrate that Eastern and Western Europe differ in their attitudes to the decline in quality of democracy. The studies consider how satisfied people are with the political changes they witness, and argue that seemingly more authoritarian attitudes in the East explain why people feel more satisfied with a defective democracy that empowers the populist-authoritarian political actors that they support.

Introduction - Carlos García-Rivero

Part 1. Populism in Europe: Concept and Context

Chapter 1. Quality of Democracy in Europe – Enrique Clari & Carlos García-Rivero

Chapter 2. Populism: Theoretical Foundations– Ángel Rivero

Chapter 3. Mapping European Populism and Its Association with Anti-Pluralism: Descriptive Evidence in Time and Space – Enrique Clari

Chapter 4. On the Persistence of Radical Right Populism in Europe: The Role of Grievances and Emotions – Hans-Georg Betz

Part 2. Political Participation under Populism: Trends and Limits

Chapter 5. The Limits of Democratic Competition: Time-Series, Cross-Sectional Evidence of the Asymmetrical Impact of Polarization on Europeans’ Political Attitudes and Behavior – Enrique Clari and Carlos García-Rivero

Chapter 6. Populist Voter Profiles in Different Electoral Calls: Lessons from Spain – Javier Antón-Merino, Sergio Pérez-Castaños and Marta Méndez-Juez

Chapter 7. Ideological Congruence between Populist Right Parliamentary Elites and Their Voters: An Analysis of Poland, Sweden, and Germany – Carlos García-Rivero and Hennie Kotzè

Chapter 8. Internal Sanctions for Rule of Law Breaches Under Article 7 TEU: Why is the EU Dragging its Feet? – Clara Portela and Ruth Ferrero

Part 3. Populist Parties in Different European Regions

Chapter 9. Populism in Western vs Eastern Europe – José Rama and Andrés Santana

Chapter 10. Populism in Southern Europe – Belén Fernández and Ángel Valencia

Chapter 11. Nordic Populism: Conjoining Ethno-Nationalism and Welfare Chauvinism – Eirikur Bergmann

Conclusion: What Lies AheadCarlos García-Rivero

About the Contributors


“This timely volume provides a comprehensive overview of populism in Europe. Anyone concerned about threats to democracy—and we all should be—will find the theoretical foundations and empirical cases discussed in this book insightful.”