The politics of anti-environmentalism: positional issue framing by the European radical right

Konstantinos Gemenis, Alexia Katsanidou, Sofia Vasilopoulou

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Abstract

The environment is traditionally considered as a valence issue where all political parties endorse the same position and differ only on the degree to which they emphasize it. Our paper challenges this view by arguing that the environment is increasingly perceived as a positional issue. We examine cross-country mass survey data and demonstrate that many voters perceive a trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth. This perception is increasingly reflected in the discourse of political parties. In particular, expert surveys and party manifesto data indicate the existence of anti-environmental positions among radical right/nationalist parties, a finding which challenges the view that the environment is a distinctively left-wing issue. By qualitatively analyzing the most recent national and European election manifestos of thirteen radical right parties in Western Europe we demonstrate the ways in which these parties frame their anti-environmental positions and conclude that analyses of voting behaviour should take into account the positional nature of the issues associated with environmental protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages-
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2012
Event62nd Annual Political Studies Association Conference 2012 - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Apr 20125 Apr 2012
Conference number: 62

Conference

Conference62nd Annual Political Studies Association Conference 2012
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period3/04/125/04/12

Keywords

  • METIS-312930
  • IR-97963

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