The Radical Right in Western Democracies - POLI6760

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


One of the most striking developments in established Western democracies has been the electoral growth of extreme right and radical right-wing political parties. In this module students will investigate the nature and rise of extreme and radical right-wing parties, while also exploring other related issues such as right-wing extremist and racially-motivated violence and/or terrorism. This module will introduce students to the academic literature that has followed a resurgence of support for the extreme right. The module will familiarise students with conceptual and theoretical debates within this literature, and introduce students to some of the associated 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.


Contact hours

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

Method of assessment

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

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Each week of activity is accompanied with its own reading list. However, core books will be used throughout the module, and should be considered as compulsory reading. These are:

* Art, David (2011) Inside the Radical Right: The Development of Anti-Immigrant Parties in Western Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

* Betz, Hans-Georg (1994), Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe, Basingstoke: Macmillan

* Eatwell, Roger (2000) 'The Rebirth of the Extreme Right in Western Europe', Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 53, no.3: 407-25.

* Ford, Robert and Matthew Goodwin (2014) Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain, London: Routledge.

* Hainsworth, Paul (2000) The Politics of the Extreme Right: From the Margins to the Mainstream, London: Pinter.

* Ignazi, Piero (2006), Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

* Mudde, Cas (2007) Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

* Norris, Pippa (2005), Radical Right, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

* Rydgren, Jens (2007) ‘The Sociology of the Radical Right’, Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 33, pp.241-262.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate

8.1 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.

8.2 The ability to identify, describe, characterise radical right-wing ideas and ideologies and to critically evaluate the political vision(s) they are based on.

8.3 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.

8.4 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,

8.5 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. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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