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Berg, Anne Espeland, Jens Jungblut, and Anders Ravik Jupskås. “We don’t need no education? Education policies of Western European populist radical right parties.” West European Politics (2023): 1-31.


Populist radical right parties (PRRPs) have become more mainstream, increasing their relevance in European politics. While a lot is already known about them, there are still gaps in our knowledge. This article addresses one such gap by studying Western European PRRPs’ positions on education policy. It focuses on the salience of education in election manifestos, substantive positions that parties hold, and in how far these positions reflect their core ideology. Constructing a novel framework based on core ideologies and three dimensions of education policies, including an often-neglected content dimension, the article presents results from a qualitative content analysis of 15 manifestos. The results show that education policy is relevant for PRRPs, albeit to varying degrees, and that their policies are informed by their core ideologies. The findings have important implications for understanding education policy dynamics in liberal democracies as PRRPs fundamentally challenge normative foundations of Western European education systems.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.