Siim, Birte, and Susi Meret. ‘Right-Wing Populism in Denmark: People, Nation and Welfare in the Construction of the “Other”’. The Rise of the Far Right in Europe: Populist Shifts and ‘Othering’, Eds. Gabriella Lazaridis, Giovanna Campani, and Annie Benveniste, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2016.
Scholars generally agree that Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries represent ‘an exceptionalism’ in terms of welfare state and gender regimes; it has been argued that this context also influenced the way populism emerged, developed and consolidated (Rydgren 2011) in the past half century. In particular, some of the scholarly literature in the Nordic context focuses on the particular relation between nationalism and populism, suggesting that contemporary forms of populism have been shaped and influenced by the historical context and the construction and perception of ‘the people’, ‘the nation’ and ‘the other’. This is for instance indicated by the way the nationalist populist Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti, DF) discursively constructs and relates party ideology and positions to the national question. Within this frame, the nation and those who belong to it are perceived to be threatened from immigration flows, from European integration and Islam. This approach to the nation-state carries historical legacies; scholars have observed that Scandinavia has through the years developed a particular form of ‘welfare nationalism’ (Brochmann and Hagelund 2012), which since the 1960s and 1970s linked national issues with social equality, democracy and gender equality in the construction of ‘national belonging’. This chapter suggests that these understandings of the nation and welfare state have in recent decades been seized by the populist right and re-interpreted by paradigms emphasising differences and cleavages between natives vs. foreigners, deserving vs. undeserving, friends vs. foes.
This contribution analyses two different organizations: The Danish People’s Party and the Free Press Society (Trykkefrihedsselskabet, TS); the first is one of the electorally most successful parliamentary represented populist parties; the second a grassroots’ radical right wing movement that focuses on the issue of Islam vis-à-vis the question of freedom of speech and free press.