All staff and students of the Sociology department are welcome at the department’s monthly PARIS research seminar. This week Assistant Professor Jasper Muis will discuss his paper:
“The Rise and Demise of the Dutch Extreme Right: Discursive Opportunities and Support for the Centre Democrats in the 1990s”
In this article Jasper Muis seeks to explain why the Dutch extreme-right party, Centre Democrats (CD), never succeeded in breaking out of its marginal position. It argues that, in addition to accounting for fluctuations in the amount of electoral support, scholars should also analyze the degree to which extreme right parties are able to express their views in the mass media. Supply-side explanations are extended with the argument that latent political opportunities need to manifest themselves in the public debate in order to become relevant. Relying on longitudinal data derived from political claims analysis and opinion polls, this article shows that negative public reactions significantly eroded the electoral attractiveness of the extreme-right party. In contrast, when one’s goal is to achieve mass media access, the results reveal that any publicity is favorable publicity: public criticism enhanced the party’s access to the public debate. Furthermore, rising support in opinion polls also led to more public claim making. Remarkably, however, the extreme-right party did not increase its electoral support when it made itself more prominently heard in the mass media. Thus, the CD appeared trapped in a spiral of discursive weakness.