Political Extremism in Democracies: Combating Intolerance

Hardcover | June 19, 2012

byWilliam M. Downs

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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.

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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 ...

WILLIAM M. DOWNS is the associate dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, an associate professor of Political Science, and the co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy at Georgia State University. He is the author of Coalition Government, Subnational Style: Multiparty Politics in Eu...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:254 pages, 8.93 × 5.63 × 0.76 inPublished:June 19, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230340792

ISBN - 13:9780230340794

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"Downs offers an original perspective on a classic yet timely paradox faced by liberal democracies: the degree to which the political system should tolerate parties that are not themselves tolerant of political or social pluralism. While the empirical examples are focused on extremist parties in Europe, the conceptual framework clearly extends beyond these particular cases to both fledgling and established democracies." - Benjamin Bowyer, Civic Engagement Research Group, Mills College