What is new and what is nationalist about Europe's new nationalism? Explaining the rise of the far right in Europe
Nations and Nationalism
© The author(s) 2019. Nations and Nationalism © ASEN/John Wiley & Sons Ltd 2019 Far-right parties are on the rise across Europe. Their shared populist rhetoric, emphasis on sovereignty and policies that promote a ‘national preference’ has facilitated the term ‘the new nationalism’. According to an emerging consensus, this new nationalism is primarily a demand-side phenomenon triggered by cultural grievances, i.e. a cultural backlash, driven by those on the wrong end of a new transnational cleavage. This explanation we argue tends to overlook important variations across countries and across time. As such, in this article, we contest the view that the ‘new nationalism’ is a linear and coherent phenomenon best understood as a cultural backlash. Specifically, our argument is threefold: (1) it is important to conceptually distinguish between populism, nationalism and the far right in order to draw meaningful conclusions about the extent to which this phenomenon is linear, coherent and comparable across cases; (2) voters' economic concerns remain pivotal within the context of the transnational cleavage, entailing that voting behaviour is structured by two dimensions of contestation; (3) the explanatory power of nationalism is in the supply, i.e. the ways in which parties use nationalism strategically in an attempt to broaden their appeal.