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Author Downs, William M., 1966-

Title Political extremism in democracies : combating intolerance / William M. Downs
Published New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource
Contents Pariahs in their Midst: Organized Extremism and the Problem of Tolerance in Contemporary Democracies -- Ignore, Isolate, Co-Opt, Collaborate or Ban? Mapping Strategic Responses to Pariah Parties -- Determinants of Democratic Defensiveness -- Is the Cordon Sanitaire Effective? -- The Moderating Effects of Incumbency? -- Responding to Political Extremism Without Succumbing to It -- Ban the Bans, but Guard the Threshold? 'Lessons' from Old to New Democracies
Summary "Political Extremism in Democracies: Combating Intolerance is a theoretically inspired, empirically rich study of political parties that have been branded as untouchable pariahs. Democracy's painful paradox seems to require tolerance of the intolerant, but democracy's defenders instead often ostracize and repress illiberal parties even when they enjoy broad electoral support. Drawing evidence from systematic comparison of contemporary pariah parties in seven European countries, the book classifies strategic responses of mainstream political actors and advances a framework for understanding cross-national differences. An inescapable, if normatively controversial, finding is that quarantining or banning extremists is less successful at containing or rolling back perceived threat than some forms of regulated inclusion"-- Provided by publisher
How do democracies resolve the paradox of having to tolerate the intolerant in their midst?€ Specifically, when political "extremists"--Organized into parties that compete openly and successfully in democratic elections - enter the conventional institutional arena, how do mainstream actors react? Established democracies founded on principles of free voice and open competition typically struggle with how best to cope with pariah parties that ostensibly play by the rules of the democratic game but then espouse exclusive and rejectionist positions. Cross-national evidence demonstrates significant variation in responses to pariah parties, from outright bans to calculated disregard. The results of those actions appear to likewise vary in dramatic ways.€ While considerable research has been published looking at the historical, sociological, and economic conditions that help explain the resurgence and persistence of party-based extremism (especially the far-right variant) in western democracies, we presently know remarkably little about the relationship between democracy and efforts to combat extremism.€ This book deals with understanding how democracies respond to party-based extremism and with what consequences
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Political parties -- Europe.
Radicalism -- Europe.
Right-wing extremists -- Europe.
Toleration -- Europe.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2011042058
ISBN 0230340792
113705283X (electronic bk.)
9781137052834 (electronic bk.)