Populism as a Problem of Social Integration

Noam Gidron, Peter A. Hall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


We argue that support for parties of the radical right and left can usefully be understood as a problem of social integration—an approach that brings together economic and cultural explanations for populism. With comparative survey data, we assess whether support for parties of the radical right and left is associated with feelings of social marginalization. We find that people who feel more socially marginal—because they lack strong attachment to the normative order, social engagement, or a sense of social respect—are more likely to be alienated from mainstream politics and to support radical parties. We also find an association between indicators for recent economic and cultural developments often said to affect social status and feelings of social marginalization, especially among people with low incomes or educational attainment. We conclude that problems of social integration and subjective social status deserve more attention from scholars of comparative political behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1027-1059
Number of pages33
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • European politics
  • populism
  • radical parties
  • social integration


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