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DemCP colloquium - BENJAMIN LERUTH: "Varieties of welfare chauvinism: how populist radical right parties influence public discourse on deservingness"

When:We 30-09-2020 16:00 - 17:00


Welfare chauvinism, i.e. support for a welfare system that is only offered to natives who have contributed to it, is a central tenet of European populist radical right parties. Data from the European Social Survey reveal that a significant proportion of the population support chauvinistic policies. Yet welfare chauvinism can take several forms that may have significantly different implications for the treatment of immigrants and for the case that can be made to support such policies.

This article identifies five varieties of welfare chauvinism, namely temporary chauvinism; selective chauvinism; functional chauvinism; cultural chauvinism; and unconditional chauvinism. The paper further compares populist radical right parties’ chauvinist policies and how they relate to public attitudes using data from mini-publics held in Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. It shows that the influence of welfare chauvinism spreads far beyond the immediate party voters, and also sheds light on important country differences. It also demonstrates that populist radical right parties do not share a common chauvinist platform. This has implications for the capacity of welfare chauvinist parties to form cross-national links and indicates that the impact of welfare chauvinism will vary substantially between welfare states.

About the speaker

Benjamin Leruth is an Assistant Professor in European Politics and Society at the University of Groningen. He previously worked at the Universities of Bath, Kent and Canberra. He is the author and co-editor of several books and articles on Euroscepticism, differentiation in the European Union and welfare politics, such as After Austerity (published by Oxford University Press in 2017), the Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism (2018) and his most recent volume, Differentiated Integration and Disintegration in a Post-Brexit Era (Routledge 2020).

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