'Women and children first!' Anti-immigration parties and gender in Norway and the Netherlands

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Abstract:

Immigration, multiculturalism and citizenship policies have deeply divided political parties in Western Europe. In Norway and the Netherlands these divisions have been exploited successfully by radical-right populist parties. Akkerman and Hagelund compare the ideas and policies of the Norwegian Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party) and the Dutch Lijst Pim Fortuyn (List Pim Fortuyn) with regard to cultural diversity, immigration and citizenship policies. What initially puzzled them was that issues that are normally left out of the radical-right agenda - such as gender equality, liberal family laws and women's participation in the labour market - seem to have been moved centre-stage in the policies and discourses of these parties. This is a development worthy of closer scrutiny. In Norway and the Netherlands, one can observe a general shift away from multiculturalism and a growing emphasis on citizenship and social cohesion. The issue of women's rights seems to provide a key to developing a renewed understanding of the boundaries of cultural diversity in these countries. To what extent have the radical-right parties provoked a rhetorical turn and policy shift towards cultural unity in Norway and the Netherlands, and to what extent are the programmes of these parties based on a defence of liberal values and gender equality?
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