Right-Wing Populist Parties - A Pathological Normalcy? A Study of Right-Wing Populist Parties in Germany


  • Anne Christin Hausknecht Maastricht University




Right-Wing Populism, Germany, Pathological Normalcy, AfD, REP, Schill-Partei


This chapter challenges the common explanation for the success or failure of right-wing populism, conducting a theory-testing analysis. Right-wing populist parties are often viewed as a temporary phenomenon, caused by some form of a crisis that weakened society. Cas Mudde offered an alternative explanation, claiming that the core sentiments of right-wing populism are rooted in society. Three concepts – authoritarianism, nativism and populism – are assumed to form the basis of right-wing populism. Examining party programs, public statements and secondary literature on the German parties Die Republikaner, Schill-Partei and Alternative für Deutschland, this chapter identifies to what extent the three notions are reflected in the parties’ ideologies. Next, the chapter looks at public opinion surveys in order to detect those sentiments within the German society. The analysis reveals that the three notions are not only part of the parties’ ideologies, but are also consistently present in the German public opinion. The findings furthermore indicate that the success or failure of right-wing populist parties depends on their ability to deal with organisational struggles, to broaden their agenda and to provide a charismatic leader. As a consequence, this study of right-wing populism shows that explaining the surge of such parties based on the occurrence of crisis might be a convenient argument by those who neglect that the problem goes deeper. 


Author Biography

Anne Christin Hausknecht, Maastricht University

Former Bachelor student at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the Maastricht University (Bachelor in European Studies). Master student at Bangor University for the LLM in International human rights law and international criminal law.