Pegida in Parliament?

Explaining the Failure of Pegida in Austria

in German Politics and Society
Farid Hafez Political Science, University of Salzburg

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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.

Contributor Notes

Farid Hafez, Ph.D. is a researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Salzburg. Hafez has taught at numerous universities in Austria and beyond (Indonesia, Turkey, Germany, u.s.). He was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in 2014 and will be a Fulbright Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in spring 2017. He is the editor of the Islamophobia Studies Yearbook ( and since 2016 co-editor of the European Islamophobia Report ( Hafez serves on the advisory board of the project “The Bridge Initiative” at Georgetown University that aims at educating the public about Islamophobia. He has received the Bruno Kreisky Award for the political book of the year for his anthology Islamophobie in Österreich (Innsbruck, 2009) co-edited with John Bunzl. Recent publications include an anthology on young Muslims in Austria: Jung, Muslimisch, Österreichisch. 20 Jahre Muslimische Jugend Österreich (Vienna, 2016).

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