Restoring economic pride? How right-wing populists moralize economic change

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Right-wing populists legitimize their political agenda by promoting cultural ideas. At the same time, support for right-wing populists is fueled by a sense of economic injustice. How do these two factors interact? This article addresses this question by tracing how these actors promote 'economic narratives' about the past. It studies how two right-wing populist parties - AfD in post-communist (former East) Germany and ANO in the Czech Republic - publicly reference and remember the disruptive nature of economic change during the transition from Communist rule to market society after 1989. Despite their notable differences, both parties offer interpretations that suggest that the structure of social recognition in market society is broken and that there is a need to repair it. They do so, first, by offering a reading of the past centered on corruption (understood, however, not as the corruption of politics by the market, but as that of market justice by politics); and second, by emphasizing resilience and a commitment to hard work, thus projecting economic strength and conjuring a notion of economic belonging (a sense of 'us' as subjects worthy of respect), against the backdrop of the post-1989 period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-305
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 504023 Political sociology


  • AFD
  • ANO
  • AfD
  • deservingness
  • post-communism
  • social recognition

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