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Calvo, Bäck & Carroll on pariah parties and changing elite rhetoric in the Swedish Riksdag

Doctoral student Esther Calvo and Professor Hanna Bäck, photo.
Doctoral student Esther Calvo and Professor Hanna Bäck.

Radical right populist parties have often been treated as “pariahs,” being excluded from coalition politics in parliamentary democracies. How can we study this type of distancing behavior?

We argue that negative rhetoric targeted at radical right populist parties in legislative debates is used by the established parties to distance themselves from such parties. Using sentiment analysis of speeches in the Swedish Riksdag from 2010 to 2022, we find that rhetoric targeted toward the radical right Sweden Democrats is more negative than speech concerning other parties on average. We also find that this negative rhetoric declined over time, primarily due to a change in sentiment from the center-right parties, as the Sweden Democrats gradually lost their pariah status in Swedish politics.

Title: Debating the Populist Pariah: Changing Party Dynamics and Elite Rhetoric in the Swedish Riksdag

Authors: Esther Calvo, Hanna Bäck, and Royce Carroll 

Link to the article: