This section includes book notes of 150-300 words as well as some book reviews of 600-900 words on books of particular interest to the members of our group. This was the last time the Book Notes & Reviews appeared under the editorship of Cas Mudde. From now on, if you have either suggestions for books you would like to review or see reviewed (including recent books of your own), please contact Nigel Copsey of Teeside University (UK).
Book Notes Hans-Georg Betz, La droite populiste en Europe. Extrême et démocrate?, Paris: CEVIPOF/Autrement, 2004, 140 pp., EUR 22.00, ISBN 2-7467-0451-X (hbk). Reviewed by Jan Jagers (University of Antwerp) This book provides a profound analysis of the most recent tendencies and explanations in the literature on right-wing populism in Western Europe. Following an all-embracing approach, the author reveals the true nature of these parties and their electoral failure or success. At the same time, stressing the similarities and unity of the phenomenon, Hans-Georg Betz pays attention to specific characteristics of the situation in each country. To verify his insights, he refers abundantly to other research and carefully selected material of different party manifestos, election campaigns, party convention texts and speeches. As in his earlier writings, the author puts the success of right-wing populism down to the ability of these parties to “channel and exploit the public resentment against the established parties” (p. 159). However, recent study of the ideology and discourse of right-wing populist parties shows that they evolved from the margins to presenting themselves as a serious alternative by a form of “identitarian politics.” Their answers to uncertainties connected to globalization, migration and the loss of traditional group-ties, is a strong defence of traditional European values and cultural identity. Embedded in Christian history, their discourse is immediately directed against, and therefore not compatible with, the idea of multicultural society of Islam and ‘cosmopolitism’. Concerning content, the chapters could have been structured more clearly, and it is a pity that in making his point, the author does not consistently give examples fromall concerning parties. However, this book undoubtedly is a must for every scholar working in this area as it contains an interesting and profound comparative analysis of the political style, ideology and strategy of right-wing populist parties in Western Europe. Ethnic Violence and Justice. The Debate over Responsibility, Accountability, Intervention, Complicity, Tribunals and Truth Commissions, Budapest: CPS Books/New York: Open Society Institute, 2003, 155 pp., EUR/USD 19.95, ISBN: 963-9241-74-1 (pbk). Reviewed by Leigh Payne (University of Wisconsin-Madison)