The Rise of the Politics of Emotions: Anti-elitism and Anti-Corruptism as Traits of Czech and Slovak Populist Parties
(Vzostup politiky emócií: Anti-elitizmus a anti-koruptizmus ako charakteristiky českých a slovenských populistických strán)
Politické vedy, Volume 22, Number 4/2019, pages 221-246
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FRIČ, P. - GYÁRFÁŠOVÁ, O. 2019. The Rise of the Politics of Emotions: Anti-elitism and Anti-Corruptism as Traits of Czech and Slovak Populist Parties. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 22, No. 4, 2019. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 221-246. Available at: http://doi.org/10.24040/politickevedy.2019.22.4.221-246
Within last few years we are witnessing the rise of populist politics which applies anti-establishment and anti-corrupt appeals. This phenomenon is widespread not only in the newer but also in advanced democracies. The present study identifies a theoretical framework for studying the politics of emotions in the context of the electoral success of populist parties. It pays detailed attention to anti-elitism, the affective political style, and anti-corruption rhetoric, researching them as dimensions of emotion-based populist mobilisation. In the empirical section, it analyses the results of an expert survey of political parties with respect to the Czech and Slovak political parties. By comparing the results for the years 2014 and 2017 on the dimensions of anti-elitism and anti-corruption rhetoric, the study demonstrates the growing salience of the politics of emotions, especially in the case of new protest parties. The evidence presented clearly documents the reliance of these protest parties and movements on the politics of emotions, suggesting that they can be classified as populist. Analysis of the salience of anti-elitist and anti-corruption rhetoric shows that the rise of anti-establishment parties cannot be explained merely by growing voter discontent with the economic situation and the quality of governance. Any such explanation must also embrace evidence about the politics of emotions that characterizes those parties. In the concluding section, the paper documents a clear trend of increasing electoral popularity of parties found by the expert survey to exhibit above-average levels of anti-elitist and anti-corruption rhetoric.
Key words: politics of emotions, populist parties, anti-elitism, anti-corruptism