The Radical Right in Western Democracies - PO676

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) PROF M Goodwin checkmark-circle


One of the most striking developments in established Western democracies has been the rise of radical right politics, as reflected in the growth of parties in Europe like the National Front in France, the Freedom Party of Austria, the UK Independence Party and then Brexit Party, and in the election of Donald Trump in the United States. In this module, students will investigate the nature and rise of populism and explore related issues such as national populism and racially-motivated violence and/or terrorism. This module will familiarise students with conceptual and theoretical debates within the academic literature, and introduce students to methodological debates. Students will be encouraged to think critically about concepts, classifications, ideologies, electoral behaviour and the broader implications of the rise of these parties and social movements in areas such as public policy and social cohesion. More broadly, the module will enable students to strengthen their communication and presentational skills, critically assess academic debates and improve their understanding of theory and methods.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Hours: 150
Contact hours: 22
Private study: 128 hours

Method of assessment

Essay, 3,000 Words: 50%
Exam, 2 Hours: 50%

Indicative reading

Jens Rydgren (Editor) (2018) The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right, Oxford University Press
Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin (2018) National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy (Penguin).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

- Systematic and comparative knowledge of the historical factors and circumstances that contribute to the formation and evolution of right-wing movements and parties in contemporary Western democracies.
- The ability to identify, describe, characterise radical right-wing ideas and ideologies and to critically evaluate the political vision(s) they are based on.
- Comprehensive knowledge of contemporary and current debates – within both a political and a scholarly context – on the activities of radical right-wing movements and parties in Western democracies; as well as the ability to discern advocacy and analysis within those debates.
- The ability to use current concepts and theories informed by the forefront of the academic literature on right-wing extremism in order to describe, analyse and critically evaluate the complex interaction between ideology (ideas) and political practice in the specific context of radical right-wing ideologies and contemporary Western democracies,
- The ability to critically evaluate, interpret and use appropriate techniques for the analysis of radical right-wing movements and parties operating in a democratic environment, including quantitative methods of analysis.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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