Contemporary History Podium 2019: Right-Wing Populism in Western Democracies – Historical Perspectives


The future of democracy as well as the challenges arising from globalisation on the one hand as well as the illiberal or even authoritarian temptation on the other hand are keeping politicians, the wider public and research busy in many countries of Europe and America. The successes of (right-wing) populist parties and movements in established democratic countries with their often nationalist and equally anti-modern and xenophobic rhetoric pose the question as to the potential risks and democratic courses of action. The “Contemporary History Podium” wishes to put these phenomena into clearer historical perspective by using five case studies: The Federal Republic of Germany (Karin Priester), the USA (Ursula Prutsch), France (Ronja Kempin), the Netherlands (André Krause), and Italy (Thomas Schlemmer). They reveal the interdependence of long-term developments, socio-political upheaval and current crises. New parties such as the Alternative für Deutschland as well as established parties such as the Rassemblement National (formerly Front National) are examined. An important emphasis is laid on leading figures such as Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump or the almost forgotten Silvio Berlusconi, who are especially important as catalysts of populism in their respective countries.

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