New publication: Party identification and voting behaviour in Germany

With the next General election on the horizon, it is about time that German Politics' special issue on the 2013 election is now out electronically. My contribution looks at the development of party identification from 1977 to 2013, and on its impact on voting behaviour in 2013. If you don't have a subscription for the journal, the (very similar) pre-publication version is on my website. And here is the abstract:


Using new data for the 1977–2012 period, this article shows that dealignment has halted during the last decade amongst older and better educated West German voters, and that party identification is now more widespread than it was in the 1990s in the east. For voters who identified with one of the relevant parties at the time of the 2013 election, their vote choice was more or less a foregone conclusion, as candidates and issues played only a minor role for this group. A detailed analysis of leftist voters shows that supporters of the Greens, the Left, and the SPD have broadly similar preferences but diverging partisan identities. Even amongst western voters of the Left, most respondents claim to be identifiers. This suggests that the fragmentation of the left is entrenched, and that ‘agenda’ policies have triggered a realignment.

Talk: "Why Greece failed, and what are the lessons learned?"

As part of our departmental seminar series, Professor Takis S. Pappas will give a talk on

Why Greece failed, and what are the lessons learned?

(November 25, 6 pm, GFG 01-701)

As always, all staff and students are cordially invited.

Greece has been in a deep economic, political and social crisis at least 2009, and the hopes for its recovery and return to normalcy are at the moment rather dim. Two interrelated questions become urgent: What went wrong in Greece, when things for many decades had seemed to be going right? And how did contemporary Greek democracy become possible and manage to sustain itself for almost three decades? The first question calls for an explanation of the logic that led Greece to abandon a liberal political arrangement for another that eventually led to disaster; the second question requires an examination of the particular mechanisms that enabled the country’s overall political arrangement to work for nearly three decades. It will be shown that Greece’s failure is the outcome of a long process during which populism prevailed over liberalism and became hegemonic in society. Analysis will be based on a novel understanding of populism as democratic illiberalism, which, not only is inimical to liberal democracy, but may also contaminate a country’s entire party and political system through the various micro-mechanisms it helps develop. Above all, persisting populism is a huge obstacle to Greece’s current efforts to overcome crisis.

Takis PappasTakis S. Pappas is the author of Populism and Crisis Politics in Greece (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) and co-editor of European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession (ECPR Press 2015). He is currently working on a new book project titled “Democratic Illiberalism: How Populism Grows”

Research Paper on AfD published in West European Politics

Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinarily well in the 2013 general election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the euro and argued for a reconfiguration of Germany’s foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far-right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and Europhobe.

The full paper has just appeared in the recent issue of West European Politics (electronically and in print). The ungated pre-print version is still available here.