Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Culture, Security and Populism in the New Europe

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.59
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 76%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $9.59   
  • New (3) from $30.57   
  • Used (8) from $9.59   


The rise of rightwing populism has brought into question prevailing assumptions in social science about multicultural Europe. In this compelling study of populist politics, Mabel Berezin argues that the emergence of the movement in the 1990s was a historical surprise rather than an expected event. She questions whether rightwing populism would exist in the absence of the Maastricht Treaty and the subsequent intensification of cultural and economic Europeanization. Using an innovative methodology, Berezin analyzes the French National Front in relation to the broader context of Europeanization and globalization. She unpacks the political and cultural processes that evoke the thin commitments characterizing citizen support, and shows that we cannot make sense of rightwing populism without considering the historical legacies and practices, both national and international, within which it arises. This book makes a novel argument about the relationship between democracy and political and social security.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Illiberal Politics provides a deeply original interpretation of the rise of the French Front National in the context of Europeanization and globalization. This book is a wonderful demonstration of Berezin's remarkable interdisciplinary reach. Her event and identity-centered approach will sustain new types of dialogues between sociologists, political scientists, and others students of political culture." - Michele Lamont, Harvard University, author of The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class, and Immigration

"Mabel Berezin’s brilliant new book offers a subtle but penetrating explanation for the rise of right-wing populist movements in wealthy nations. The imposition of neoliberal models of economic development requires elites to renegotiate the social contract between citizens and the state, thereby creating a climate of insecurity and vulnerability that nationalist politicians exploit to win elections and gain power. Her insightful analysis reveals that neo-fascist, anti-immigrant movements are not just blind expressions of ancient prejudices, but sociologically predictable consequences of a globalizing world order." - Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University

"The study of contemporary European politics has been sorely missing a cultural perspective. Berezin brilliantly fills this gap, simultaneously providing a subtle and provocative explanation for the contrasting influence of right populism in different countries and contributing new concepts and methodological tools for the analysis of political phenomena." - Juan Díez Medrano, University of Barcelona

"Despite the abundant literature on right wing parties, Mabel Berezin provides an original and innovative analysis of why, after a long period of obscurity, right wing populism unexpectedly appeared in Western Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and, more specifically, why the French National Front (FN) has enjoyed continued success well into the 21st century.... Berezin should be commended for an original study and for the strength of her rich analysis of French politics, history, and culture. The historical and narrative approach , and the analysis of events allow the author to demonstrate the wiser and the broader significance of the FN." - Canadian Journal of Sociology

"A very interesting book to read" - e-Extreme, Newsletter of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Deomocracy

"...this work is clearly an important contribution to the field and one that brings fresh ideas to a decades-old debate. The book is to be highly recommended." - Journal of Common Market Studies

"At first glance, the argument that neoliberalism has generated an antidemocratic and illiberal political climate seems convoluted. Berezin (Cornell Univ.) removes all confusion with a clearly researched and authoritative account of how Europe has changed...The historical analysis is rich and sophisticated." - CHOICE, A.R. Brunello, Eckerd College

" engaging analytical narrative..." -Geoff Eley, The Journal of Modern History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521547840
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Series: Cambridge Cultural Social Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mabel Berezin is Associate Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. She is the author of Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Inter-war Italy (1997) which was awarded the J. David Greenstone Prize for Best Book of 1996-1997 in Politics and History by the American Political Science Association and named an Outstanding Academic Book of 1997 by Choice. She is also co-editor of Europe Without Borders (2003) and has written numerous articles on European politics, culture and history.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of illustrations

List of tables

Introduction The rightwing populist moment as historical surprise 1

Pt. I Situating the rightwing populist moment 15

1 Cinderella in the polis: rightwing populism as historical phenomenon and political concept 17

2 Experience and events: reformulating the rightwing populist moment 37

Pt. II The trajectory of thin commitments: France and the National Front 59

3 Beginning on the margins: the French first! 61

4 "Neither right nor left: French!" The campaign for political normalcy 79

5 The paradox of defeat: the rise and fall and rise of the French National Front 99

6 The 2002 presidential elections: the fabulous destiny of Jean-Marie Le Pen 126

7 The "new" April 21: from the presidential elections to the referendum on the European constitution 167

Pt. III Theorizing Europe and rightwing populism 197

8 Reasserting the national against Europe: politics and perception 199

9 Discovering the national in Europe 221

Conclusion: The future of illiberal politics: democracy and security 243

Bibliography 259

Index 297

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)