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Anti-Elite/Establishment Rhetoric and Party Positioning on European Integration.

Magazine article
Authors Jonathan Polk
Jan Rovny
Published in Chinese Political Science Review
Volume 2
Issue 3
Pages 356-371
ISSN 2365-4244
Publication year 2017
Published at Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Department of Political Science
Pages 356-371
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1007/s41111-017-0068-9
Keywords Political parties European Union Euroskepticism Populism Anti-establishment parties
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


This article addresses the relationship between the salience of anti-elite/establishment rhetoric for political parties and party positions on European integration. Anti-establishment rhetoric is a feature of populism, which is increasingly influential in contemporary European politics. For populist parties across the continent, in several ways the European Union (EU) represents the pinnacle of elite-driven, establishment-based politics. Previous research has demonstrated that party EU positions are systematically related to their positions on the left–right ideological scale but that this varies from Western to Eastern Europe. Here, we show that parties that place more emphasis on anti-elite/establishment rhetoric are more likely to oppose European integration, and that this holds across the East/West geographical divide and controlling for a variety of other party characteristics.

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