Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



The resurgence of the far-right in European politics has been cause for alarm on a continent which so recently suffered the consequences of the rise of fascism in the early twentieth century. Political observers have looked on anxiously while far-right parties in Austria and Italy have participated in the governing coalitions of those countries. In 2002, Jean Marie Le Pen stunned the world with his advancement into the second round of the French Presidential election. Why is the radical-right so strong right now? Why do voters cast their ballots in support of far-right parties? In this thesis, I have examined these questions and offered some insight into how far-right parties rose to prominence in France, Italy, Austria, and Belgium. I hypothesize that voters who supported far-right parties in the last parliamentary elections have less trust in both domestic and supranational political institutions, follow politics less closely, are more likely to feel alienated, and are more likely to feel that immigrants take away jobs than their counterparts who supported mainstream parties. My findings reveal that these hypotheses were particularly accurate in France and Belgium, but did not correctly depict the sentiments of Italian far-right voters. This finding suggests that far-right parties are perhaps not as similar as some people believe, but are characterized by different goals and platforms that appeal to different bases cross-nationally.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Leonard Ray