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Narratives of Loss: Unravelling the Origins of Support for Socially Conservative Political Agendas

Project description

Explaining the economic hardship and conservative politics connection

Europe’s far-right parties' popularity increased during the financial crisis. They advanced their socially conservative agendas, questioning the rights of marginalised groups such as ethnic, religious, social and sexual minorities. This trend towards the restriction of rights and the adoption of strong conservative politics represents a threat to the cohesion of European societies. Despite a documented relationship between the financial crisis and the rise in far-right politics, the reason for this is still not understood. The EU-funded LOSS project suggests that experiences of economic hardship generate specific narratives of loss resulting in the support of conservative political programmes and intends to explain how this happens. The project will employ an innovative multi-method empirical approach to compare experiences from five EU countries (Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK).


The key aim of the LOSS project is to unravel: How economic hardship affects support for socially conservative political agendas aimed at restricting the rights of marginalised groups (ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, migrants, LGBTQIA+ and women), and how local and national policy contexts affect this relationship. Many European societies have recently experienced growing prejudice towards marginalised groups and the rise in support for far-right parties advocating to restrict the rights of these groups. These developments threaten the cohesion of national and local communities across Europe. While aggregate level evidence suggests that financial crises generally coincide with increased support for far-right parties, we do not understand why this happens. By developing a groundbreaking interdisciplinary theoretical framework that integrates insights about the role of loss from political science, sociology, social psychology and behavioural economics, the LOSS project contends that experiences of economic hardship translate into specific narratives of loss that in turn trigger support for social conservative political agendas. To empirically examine the importance of narratives of loss, the LOSS project employs an innovative multi-method empirical approach combining qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. To uncover the role of context, the project compares five European countries (Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) that vary in the level of compensation provided for economic hardship, and local contexts within these countries.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 993 518,00
Via sarfatti 25
20136 Milano

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Nord-Ovest Lombardia Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)