Rural protest groups and populist political parties

RHN 4/2016 | Publication

Dirk Strijker, Gerrit Voerman, and Ida Terluin (eds.), Rural protest groups and populist political parties, Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2015.

Some agricultural or rural protest groups in the Western world evolved into political parties - often of a populist nature - whereas others did not. This book is the first to explore under which conditions this happens, and to what extent current populist parties have agricultural or rural ties and related agendas. Well-known authors with a background in rural studies or in political sciences describe and analyse the situation in a number of Western countries (the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, Australia, Finland). The contributions in this book show that the accessibility and responsiveness of the political system and the institutionalized agrarian interest groups, as well as the existing political landscape, are influencing the decisions of rural protest groups to found a political party. However, nowadays the chances of these parties being successful are small due to the declining share of the agricultural sector within European societies. Although there will always be grounds for agrarian protest, it seems safe to say that the heyday of agrarian populism is over.