New book


Cultural Backlash:

The rise of Authoritarianism-Populism

Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart

New York: Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming fall 2018


Authoritarian populists have disrupted politics in many societies, as exemplified by Donald Trump in the U.S. and Brexit in the UK.

Authoritarian populist parties have gained votes and seats in many countries, and entered government in states as diverse as Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland. Across Europe, their average share of the vote in parliamentary elections remains limited but it has more than doubled since the 1960s and their share of seats tripled. 

Even small parties can still exert tremendous ‘blackmail’ pressure on governments and change the policy agenda, as demonstrated by UKIP’s role in catalyzing Brexit.

The danger is that populism undermines public confidence in the legitimacy of liberal democracy while authoritarianism actively corrodes its principles and practices.

This book sets out a general theory explaining polarization over the cultural cleavage dividing social liberals and social conservatives in the electorates and how these values translate into support for Authoritarian-Populist parties and leaders in the U.S. and Europe.

The conclusion highlights the dangers to liberal democracy arising from these developments and what could be done to mitigate the risks.

What is Authoritarian-Populism?

Populism is defined as a style of discourse reflecting first order principles about who should rule, claiming that legitimate power rests with 'the people' not the elites. It remains silent about second order principles concerning what should be done, what policies should be followed, what decisions should be made. which blends two sets of ideas.

Authoritarians endorse the values of tough security to protect the tribe against threats from outsiders, adherence to conventional group norms, and loyal obedience to tribal leaders.  

The danger of populist-authoritarianism is that this set of beliefs corrodes principles and practices at the heart of liberal democracy. Strongman leaders trample upon norms of live-and-let-live fair play, constraints on partisanship, the protection of civil liberties, and the value of consensus-building; the importance of a bright line clearly separating personal and political interests; the unambiguous rejection of political violence and the active defense of human rights; the value of tolerating a multicultural diversity of lifestyles, beliefs, and ideas; and the importance of cosmopolitanism, open borders, and multilateral cooperation.

It is worth emphasizing that not all populists are authoritarian, and not all authoritarians are populists, by any means. The establishment can also be challenged to advance a progressive agenda. But Authoritarian-Populist parties and leaders blend both these potent appeals.  

“Cultural Backlash” analyzes the phenomenon of Authoritarian-Populism and its mass appeal as a style of governance which threatens progressive values as well as core principles and practices of liberal democracy.

Cultural Backlash

The Rise of Populist Authoritarianism

Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart

Forthcoming Cambridge University Press, Fall 2018


Preface and acknowledgments

List of tables and figures

I: Introduction

1. Understanding populism

2. The cultural backlash theory

3. Varieties of populism

II: Authoritarian-Populist values

4. The backlash against the silent revolution

5. Economic grievances

6. Immigration

III: From values to votes

7. Classifying parties

8. Who votes for authoritarian-populists?

9. Party fortunes and electoral rules

10. Trump's America

11. Brexit

IV: Conclusions

12. Eroding the civic culture?

13. The populist challenge

Select bibliography

Endnotes and Technical Appendices

[i] See, for example, overviews of the literature in Hans-Georg Betz. 1994. Radical Rightwing Populism in Western Europe. New York: St Martin’s Press; Piero Ignazi. 2003. Extreme right parties in Western Europe. New York: Oxford University Press; Herbert Kitschelt with Anthony J. McGann. 1995. The Radical Right in Western Europe: A Comparative Analysis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan; Pippa Norris. 2005. Radical Right: Voters and Parties in the Electoral Market. New York: Cambridge University Press; Cas Mudde. 2007. Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. NY: Cambridge University Press; Ruth Wodak, Majid KhosraviNik and Brigitte Mral.  Eds. 2013. Right-Wing Populism in Europe. London: Bloomsbury; Carlos de la Torre. Ed. 2015. The Promise and Perils of Populism: Global Perspectives. Lexington, KT: University of Kentucky Press; Matt Golder. 2016. ‘Far Right Parties in Europe.’ Annual Review of Political Science19:477-97.

[ii] Cas Mudde. 2013. ‘Three decades of populist radical right parties in Western Europe: So what?’ European Journal of Political Research 52: 1-19;  Cas Mudde. 2014. ‘Fighting the system? Populist radical right parties and party system change.’ Party Politics. 20(2): 217-226.

[iii] S.L. De Lange 2012 ‘New alliances: why mainstream parties govern with radical right-wing populist parties.’ Political Studies 60: 899–918

[iii] Calculated from Holger Döring and Philip Manow. 2016. Parliaments and governments database (ParlGov) ‘Elections’ dataset: