Lagom: Intersects of nationalism and populism in Swedish parliamentary elections

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2017-05-05
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

This thesis examines the unique set of circumstances which led to the rapid rise of a supposed right-wing populist party in Sweden. The Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) are not the first nationalist party to enter the Swedish parliament, but are the first to survive multiple parliamentary elections and are currently the third largest party in parliament. This thesis argues the Sverigedemokraterna do not constitute a political party, but remain a populist movement within Swedish politics, are not right-wing but rather a lagom-inspired hybrid, and the stabilizing effects of the culture of lagom prevents the permanence of extremism in Swedish politics. The increase in immigrants from predominantly Muslim states due to the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war stoke the anti-Islamic rhetoric of this nationalist group, but did not cause their rapid ascent and neither did the entry of Sweden into the European Economic Community. The Sverigedemokraterna are a single-point culmination of a century of nationalist and fascist groups splitting and merging within Sweden, but as other groups continue to appear the SD cannot be the only culmination.

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Keywords
Sweden, nationalism, nativism, fascism, Sverigedemokraterna, elections, political theory, political parties, populism, Europe, lagom
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