Alina Polyakova, The Dark Side of European Integration: Social Foundations and Cultural Determinants of the Rise of Radical Right Movements in Contemporary Europe (Explorations of the Far Right. Vol. 4). Stuttgart/Hannover: ibidem-Verlag, 1 August 2015. Distributed outside Europe by Columbia University Press.
180 pages. ISBN 978-3-8382-0766-7
Paperback: 29.90 EUR / 36.00 USD (incl. 7% tax)
Across Europe, radical right-wing parties are winning increasing electoral support. The Dark Side of European Integration argues that this rising nationalism and the mobilization of the radical right are the consequences of European integration: the European economic project has produced a cultural backlash in the form of nationalist radical right ideologies.
This assessment relies on a detailed analysis of the electoral rise of radical right parties in Western and Eastern Europe. Contrary to popular belief, economic downturns and rising immigration rates do not explain different in support for the far right between countries or why such parties have not been as electorally successful in post-socialist Eastern Europe as in Western Europe. Paradoxically, East European countries integrate more fully into the European Union, the more likely they are to develop strong far-right parties.
Polyakova also investigates the development, and eventual failure, of the far right in Ukraine. Using over 100 in-depth interviews with radical right activists in western Ukraine, Polyakova shows that radicalization works primarly through activists’ social networks, particularly in regions where civic participation is high. In regions with a weak civil society, far-right groups have more difficulty recruiting.
“Polyakova’s sophisticated exploration of why and how ultra-nationalists succeed challenges widely held assumptions about the determinants of right-wing electoral support and individual radicalization. Her study is unusual in comparing the European far right beyond the borders of the EU and in including field research results from Western Ukrainian provinces. This succinct investigation should find wide attention among researchers of political extremism and will help us better understand the reasons for the current surge of xenophobia across Europe.”
Dr. Andreas Umland, Nationale Universität Kiew-Mohyla-Akademie
Dr. Alina Polyakova is Associate Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bern, a Fulbright Program fellow, and IREX Scholar at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, as well as a National Science Foundation Fellow. Her research focuses on national identity and belonging in post-socialist Eastern Europe. Polyakova’s articles appeared in, among other outlets, Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The National Interest, World Affairs Journal, Open Democracy, the Journal of Common Market Studies, and Communist and Post-Communist Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkeley.