Exchange: Nativists Are Populists, Not Liberals

Issue Date January 2018
Volume 29
Issue 1
Page Numbers 141-47
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Modern radical-right populist parties are often described as illiberal, in the sense of being authoritarian, hostile to pluralism, or opposed to “libertarian” postmaterialist ideas. Yet Takis Pappas has argued in these pages that some radical-right populist parties, which he describes as “nativist,” espouse “liberalism for the natives.” This paper contends that Pappas’s categorization is faulty. It cannot distinguish supposedly liberal “nativist” parties from other far-right parties that also claim to defend liberalism. Nor do many of these parties consistently promote liberal values even for natives. Instead, these parties are mainly concerned with nationalizing liberal values to strengthen ingroup-outgroup boundaries and provide additional grounds for excluding Muslims.

About the Author

Ben Margulies is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Warwick, where he works on the European Research Council’s Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty Project. He earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Essex in 2014.

View all work by Ben Margulies