Reference : “We/Us” vs. “Them/Others” ; The case of the “Front National” (FN) and the “Freiheitli...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Law, criminology & political science : Political science, public administration & international relations
“We/Us” vs. “Them/Others” ; The case of the “Front National” (FN) and the “Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs” (FPÖ)
[fr] “Nous” contre les “Autres” ; Le cas du “Front national” (FN) et du “Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs” (FPÖ)
Debras, François mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Département de science politique >]
25th World Congress of Political Science
du 21 juillet 2018 au 25 juillet 2018
International Political Science Association
[en] People ; Nativism ; Nationalisme ; Nation ; Multiculturalism ; Sharia ; Integration ; Natives ; Foreigners ; Conflict ; Immigration ; Turkey ; Islam ; Communitarianism ; Sovereignty ; Oligarchy ; Establishment ; Extreme right ; France ; Austria ; Democracy ; Presidential campaign ; European institutions ; Opposition ; Minority ; Elites ; Identity ; Work ; Society ; Homogeneous ; Majority ; Religion ; Culture ; Boundaries ; Political discourse ; FPÖ ; FN ; Rhetoric ; Populism
[en] In recent years, the “Front National” (FN) in France has claimed to be the “defender of the people” and “guarantor of their interests”. In 2017, the campaign slogan of Marine Le Pen, party leader and candidate in the presidential election, was “in the name of the people”. In Austria, the “Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs” (FPÖ) stood as the “voice of the oppressed majority”. The party is demanding “a direct democracy in order to let the people speak”. These elements lead us to question the notion of “the people”. How should we define “the people”? What reality does it refer to? What are the underlying political and ideological issues?
Firstly, to answer this question, I aim to clarify the term “the people” in populist rhetoric. The FN and the FPÖ are often described as “far-right parties”. However, many scholars also refer to them as “populist parties”. These terms clearly need explaining. Secondly, this work will analyse the political discourse of the FN and the FPÖ. The focus will be on the political programmes and oral communication coming from their principal representatives. This analysis is discursive. It isn’t an examination of the work performed by party supporters or members (parliamentary work, action in local authorities, etc.).
Apparently, the rhetoric from both parties is structured around two dichotomies: 1) the removal of social boundaries in favour of a people/elite opposition; 2) the affirmation of cultural boundaries in favour of an opposition between natives to a country and foreigners. I will explain why these notions of social and cultural boundaries have a prominent place in rhetoric in line with populist theory. The desire to suppress social boundaries, allows us to identity a first issue: sovereignty. The affirmation of cultural boundaries illustrates a second issue: unity. Finally, a third issue is transmitted through the notion of sovereignty and unity: identity.
To conclude, I will return to the classification of the “Front National” and the “Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs” as “right-wing-populist” parties. I will end by answering the question: “who are ‘the people’”? This will explain why populist rhetoric responds to a feeling of unease within society and, more generally, within Western democracies.
Association belge francophone de science politique (ABSP)
Researchers ; Professionals

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