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Pegida in Parliament?: Explaining the Failure of Pegida in Austria

Farid Hafez

Keywords: right wing populist parties; new right; Freedom Party; FPÖ; Pegida; Islamophobia; social movement theory; Austria, Germany

Abstract

This article explains the failure of Pegida Austria as a social movement organization by testing three prominent theories of social movement theory: political opportunity structures, ideology, and resource mobilization. The failure of Pegida to play a role in Austrian politics is ascribed to the dominant role the Freedom Party (FPÖ) already plays in the Austrian parliament, the FPÖ’s issue dominance on anti-immigration and Islamophobia in public discourse, and the relative scarcity of individuals capable of mass mobilization outside the spectrum of political parties. The analysis is based on a crucial-case study that does a comparative content analysis of the FPÖ and Pegida platforms to assess the ideology argument. The political opportunity and human resource arguments are analyzed with process tracing. The findings reveal that all three theories jointly help to explain the failure of Pegida Austria.

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