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Describe and explain the varying significance of the Far Right in the French Fifth Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy

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Milène G.
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  1. Introduction
  2. The revival of the Far Right
  3. The social context in advanced Western societies
  4. The processes of modernisation and globalisation
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

April 21st, 2002, the first round of the French Presidential election, was a clap of thunder in the political landscape. Jean-Marie Le Pen, candidate of ?National Front?, the Far Right leading party, won a staggering 16.86 % of the votes, eliminating from the run-off the outgoing socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and opposing in the second round the incumbent President Jacques Chirac. This political earthquake was a dazzling success for the mounting Far Right parties in Europe since the 1970s. In this essay we shall adopt a comparative perspective to tackle the revival of the Far Right, considering examples and establishing similarities and differences among the Far Rights in the French Fifth Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy.
Situated on the Far Right of the political spectrum and originally opposed to the values of the democratic Revolution of 1789, this anti-mainstream political force is characterised by highly nationalist and populist stances, tough law-and-order and anti-immigration platforms and traditional moral and family values. It is widely seen as an anti-progressive party seeking to put in place a ?strong government?. The expression ?Far Right? is normatively pejorative and can be used to picture someone as an ?extremist?. It is often associated with tough conservatism, racism, monarchism, fascism and reactionary politics.

[...] The social changes in the post-industrial and post-materialistic world can account for two significances of the Far Right. First the processes of modernisation and globalisation have produced both winners and losers, releasing a great deal of anxiety and resentment towards change among the electorate. Traditionally the segments of the population threatened by marginalization and social anguish have represented an electoral basis for the Far Right, the so-called petit bourgeois dreading ?social demotion? by capital modernisation as it was demonstrated in the poujadiste movement in France in the 1950s. [...]


[...] In this essay I shall argue that the Far Right in the French Fifth Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy should be seen as a product of post modern politics rather than a political anachronism. This essay has been divided into three parts. Firstly I will deal with the social changes since the 1970s and their effects on the value system and the political spectrum. Secondly I will focus on the theories of Ignazi and Betz analyzing the Far Right as a feature of the politics of resentment and post modern politics among its various significances. [...]

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