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Laurenz Ennser, "The homogeneity of West European party families: The radical right in comparative perspective," Party Politics, 18 (March, 2012) 151-171. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
The emergence of right-wing radical parties constitutes one of the most significant developments in West European political systems during the past decades. But not only have these new parties impacted strongly on the dynamics of national party competition, their rise also sparked intense debates within the field of comparative politics.
There are plenty of reasons why these debates are still ongoing. Among the most prominent is the unsettled question of how to properly define, classify and label these parties.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Case selection by country and party family
Table 2. Scale wordings for six policy dimensions
Table 3. Mean policy positions and standard deviations by party family
Table 4. Average distance between pairs of parties by party family
Figure 1. Dendrogram of clustered parties
Table 5. Allocation of parties in the two- and four-cluster solution

Last Paragraph:
(Frst paragraph of conclusion) It was argued at the outset of this article that the radical right should be more heterogeneous than other party families in Western Europe. However, the analysis above shows that this is only the case when comparing the radical right to party families on the left. Liberal parties are clearly a more diverse group than the radical right, and the conservative/ Christian democratic party family displays a degree of heterogeneity similar to that of the radical right. An in-depth discussion of possible explanations for these counterintuitive findings is beyond the scope of this article. Still, some considerations can be put forward.

Last updated March 2012