B17 - Parties, Populism, and Protest
Date: Jun 14 | Time: 10:15am to 11:45am | Location:
Clarifying the Threat of Populism: Place and Party Organizational Strength: Jiajia Zhou (University of Toronto), Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto)
Abstract: The rise of populism has been viewed as closely related to instances of democratic backsliding. However, even though populist rhetoric has been observed alongside these worrying trends, the universe of cases does not present clear evidence and explanation for the suggested relationship. Is populism epiphenomenal to the rise of new parties and issues? In this paper, I investigate the relationship between party organizational strength and populist electoral success. I attempt to bridge the gap between micro-level theories of politician strategy and voter demands and macro-level theories of crisis and globalization through an understanding of local party strength and support for populism. I test my hypotheses by examining within-country variation in Japan. I utilize measures for party organizational strength and party-voter linkages in a municipal-level panel dataset across seven lower house elections, two of which occurred during the leadership of an anti-elite populist maverick in Japan’s dominant party. This paper contributes to literature on place-related determinants of populist support and questions existing views of the populist threat as uniquely tied to a particular ideology or the challenges of globalization. More broadly, the paper aims to bring clarity to questions of a phenomenon that may involve both genuine pursuits of stronger representation and potential threats to democratic stability.
The Politicization of the European Project: a Story of Supply and Demand. The Case of the Front de Gauche: Léandre Benoit (Université de Montréal), Laurie Beaudonnet (Université de Montréal)
Abstract: Over the past decade, European radical left parties have profoundly shifted their views on the European project. The strong opposition of the early days, based on economic concerns, has gradually given way to an opposition of principle, coupled with economic criticism and a desire for reform, as reflected in the positions defended by the United European Left. This research presents the argument for a new "hard Eurosceptic" turn by radical left parties towards the European Project, particularly in view of the eurozone crisis and changes in electorates. This evolution can be explained by two factors: structural and conjunctural. Firstly, the impossibility of genuine, qualified political opposition (due to the very structure of the European political system) means that critical positions toward the European project cannot find a political outcome. Secondly, the rise of Euroscepticism within various electorates is an important conjunctural factor, motivating parties to position themselves strategically on the European issue. These two hypotheses are tested empirically with a quantitative textual analysis of Front de Gauche positions from 2009 to 2017. Using a dictionary-based approach, this article examines the ways in which the Front de Gauche talks about European integration over time and the extent to which the evolution of radical left parties' positions allows us to fully grasp the shift towards hard Euroscepticism in recent years.
Violent Populist Social Movements: what do Freedom Convoy supporters have in common with Capitol Hill rioters?: Andrea Wagner (MacEwan University), Anna Brigevich (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Abstract: This paper contrasts (violent) populist social movements, such as the Capitol Riots in the United States and the Freedom Convoy in Canada to shed light on populism's deleterious effect on democracy and regime stability. The Freedom Convoy’s effective mobilization strategy challenges the prevailing wisdom that Canada enjoyed immunity from populism. Through this inquiry, we want to study those segments of the Canadian population who most spiritedly embraced its populist rhetoric on the vaccine mandates. We are going to analyze the degree of support for the Freedom Convoy Movement among 1000 polled Canadians with the purpose of establishing the profile of the average supporter. Furthermore, the role of populist actors during the protests is of great interest to the extent that it may provide important insights into a potential prospective (re)direction of Canadian conservatism. Similarly, the aftermath of the 2020 United States (US) presidential election and the Capitol Hill insurrection have sent shock-waves throughout the world, prompting questions about the ideal of American exceptionalism and the resilience of the country’s institutions. First, we argue that current definitions of populism and populist social movements are lacking, in that they fail to account for the appeal of a strongman and more authoritarian styles of leadership for at least some portion of the public. Second, we contend that there are varieties of populism, and, as a result, populist attitudes. Our focus is on distinguishing between anti-establishment populism (AE populism), on the one hand, from authoritarian populism (AU populism), on the other. We examine these questions using original public opinion data collected as part of the Varieties of Populist Attitudes (VoPA) project.
Left-Wing Parties and Cultural Issues : From Fragmentation to Aggregation ? A Comparative Analysis of the Positioning of Québec Solidaire and La France Insoumise: Olivier Salomon (Université de Montréal), Martin Papillon (Université de Montréal)
Abstract: It is sometimes asserted that left-wing parties have become too focused on cultural issues at the expense of socio-economic concerns and thus, that they would be less able to win elections. This leads us to think that for left-wing parties, the positioning on cultural issues such as immigration, antiracism, minority rights, and secularism is a strategic dilemma and from a scientific perspective, a research puzzle to explore. The paper proposed addresses this topic by analysing in a comparative perspective the positioning of two parties, Québec Solidaire and La France Insoumise ; and asks : how these two parties articulate cultural and socio-economic issues ? Relying on semi-structured interviews with executive members of both parties, on an analysis of the programs and platforms, and on documental research, this paper examines to what extent the positioning on cultural issues of these two parties have evolved over time, why there had been such an evolution and what is the strategic rationale that drives the positioning of these two parties on cultural issues. It allows us to identify the mechanisms by which the positioning of a party changes, and how parties deal with changing conceptions of emancipation that come from the intellectual field and from social movements. On a theoretical level, this research thus brings together literature about changing conceptions of emancipation, secularity and antiracism and the classic literature about political parties. It also addresses the puzzle of how political parties adapt to a multi-dimensional political space and to the growing importance of socio-cultural cleavages.