Authoritarianism and the Evolution of West European Electoral Politics

ISBN : 9780192896223

Erik R. Tillman
272 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2021
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Authoritarianism and the Evolution of West European Electoral Politics provides a novel explanation of rising Euroscepticism and right-wing populism in Western Europe. The changing political and cultural environment of recent decades is generating an ongoing realignment of voters structured by authoritarianism, which is a psychological disposition towards the maintenance of social cohesion and order at the expense of individual autonomy and diversity. High authoritarians find the values and demographic changes of the past several decades a threat to social cohesion, which has created an opportunity for PRR parties to gain their support by campaigning against these perceived threats to national community posed by immigration, values change, and European integration. The result is a worldview evolution in which party conflict is shaped by the rival preferences of high and low authoritarians. Drawing on national and cross-national survey data as well as an original survey experiment, this book demonstrates how the relationship between authoritarianism and (1) attitudes towards the EU and (2) voting behaviour has evolved since the 1990s. In doing so, this book advances these literatures by providing an explanation for why certain voters are shifting towards PRR parties as electoral politics realigns.


1 West European Politics in Turmoil?
2 A Worldview Evolution in West European Politics
3 Authoritarianism in West European Electorates
4 Threat to National Community? Authoritarianism and Attitudes towards the European Union
5 The Evolving Relationship Between Authoritarianism and EU Attitudes
6 Authoritarianism and Support for Populist Radical Right Parties
7 Authoritarianism and Potential Support for the Radical Right in Ireland
8 Cultural Backlash or Worldview Evolution? Age, Authoritarianism, and Support for the Radical Right
9 Authoritarianism and the Evolution of Voting Behaviour
10 A Worldview Evolution? Conclusions and Implications

About the author: 

Erik R. Tillman is Associate Professor of Political Science at DePaul University. He has published research on a range of topics relating to public opinion towards the European Union and the determinants of voting behaviour in Western Europe. His current research focuses on the structure of populist attitudes and support for democracy. He earned his PhD from Emory University in 2005.

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