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Right Wing Populism in Contemporary Democracies

Module Code: POU44152

Module Name: Right Wing Populism in Contemporary Democracies

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 2
  • Contact Hours: One 90 minute seminar per week
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Alexander Held

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • have an enhanced understanding of the causes and consequences of the right-wing populist backlash in advanced industrial democracies
  • be familiar with academic research into why citizens vote for populist parties and politicians
  • have been encouraged, and ideally have learned, to critically assess the material that they encounter both substantively and methodologically

Module Learning Aims

The aim of this module is to deepen students’ understanding not only of the phenomenon of right-wing populist electoral backlash, but also of the academic research that aims to interpret and understand this recent trend.


Module Content

The module will introduce students to the concepts, measures and varieties of populism. Focusing on advanced industrial democracies (Western Europe, North America), it covers both demand-side and supply-side explanations for increased electoral support for right-wing populist parties and politicians: cultural backlash, economic grievances, immigration/race/ethnicity, electoral systems, party competition. Additionally, it analyzes the consequences of this populist backlash for policy agendas and democracy in these countries.

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Reading List

Readings for this module frequently use quantitative methods. It is highly recommended that students not familiar with statistical analysis at the level of POU33011 and POU33012 read an introduction to quantitative research methods (e.g. Paul M. Kellstedt and Guy D. Whitten. 2018. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. 3rd edition, New York: Cambridge University Press.) before the start of the module.

Recommended Reading List

Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. 2019. Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. 2018. How Democracies Die. New York: Crown Publishing.

Assessment Details

Essay (40%)
90 minute Exam (60%)

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