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    This study reports the results of qualitative interviews with 28 extreme right wing activists in Flanders (Belgium). We focus on the (ideological) motives for activism (why did they become active?) and the trajectory followed in becoming active (how did they become active?). The results show that these activists are primarily motivated by ethnic nationalism. All other ideological stands (e.g. rejection of foreigners, authoritarian attitudes and rejection of actual politics in Belgium) seem to be derived from this core of ethnic nationalism. The trajectory followed is primarily one that relates to socialization and continuity: most interviewees grew up in a family in which nationalism was of primordial importance. A minority of respondents, however, followed trajectories that refer to compliance or to conversion (deprivation).


Hans De Witte
Hoofddocent aan het Departement Psychologie, K.U.Leuven.
Article

On the 'Two Faces' of right-wing extremism in Belgium

Confronting the ideology of extreme right-wing parties in Belgium with the attitudes and motives of their voters

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2 1996
Auteurs Hans De Witte
Samenvatting

    In this article, we analyse the ideological differences between extreme rightwing parties and their voters in the Flemish and Walloon part of Belgium. Extreme right-wing ideology consists of five core elements: (biological) racism, extreme ethnic nationalism, the leadership principle, anti-parliamentarianism and an anti-leftist attitude. All these attitudes refer to the basic value of rightwing extremism: the belief in the inequality of individuals and (ethnic) groups. An analysis of the ideology of the Vlaams Blok in Flanders shows that it adheres to these core elements of extreme right-wing ideology. An analysis of the attitudes and motives of the voters of this party, however, shows that they cannot be considered as right-wing extremists. The ideological gap between the Vlaams Blok and its electorate is due to the strategy of this party, since it cultivates 'two faces': a populist, moderate face in order to attract votes, and a radical extreme rightwingface in order to recruit and motivate militants. In Wallonia, less is known about the ideology of right-wing parties and that of their voters. Current research however, suggests that the conclusions from Flemish research may very well be generalized to Wallonia as well.


Hans De Witte
Article

Culturele racisten, neo-nazi's of papieren tijgers?

Bespreking van recente nederlandstalige literatuur over extreem-rechtse partijen in Europa

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2 1995
Auteurs Georgi Verbeeck en Hans De Witte

Georgi Verbeeck

Hans De Witte
Article

Hoe zwart is Vlaanderen?

Een exploratief onderzoek naar uiterst-rechtse denkbeelden in Vlaanderen in 1991

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 1994
Auteurs Hans De Witte, Jaak Billiet en Peer Scheepers
Samenvatting

    On the basis of the research literature, five aspects of the extreme right-wing ideology were distinguished: racism, extreme ethnic nationalism, the preference for a strong leadership, anti-parliamentarianism, and an anti-left attitude. The data of a postal survey in the spring of 1991 of a representative sample of the Flemish population in Belgium show that the items with which these extreme right-wing topics were operationalized show a one dimensional structure. About 10% to 25% of the interviewees agree with the individual items and about 20% of the subjects scored on the extreme right-wing side of the scale. The 'hardcore' of extreme right-wing respondents is, however, much smaller (about 1% to 2%), and does not seem to be higher in Flanders than in most of the surrounding countries. The right-wing extremism scale developed correlates as expected with a previously developed typology that integrates the attitude with respect to autochthons and allochthons. The analysis confirms that the voters for the Vlaams Blok - taken as a whole - may not be considered right-wing extremists, as suggested by previous research. Right-wing extremism correlates with a large number of attitudes and seems to be embedded in the broader opinion dimension of socio-cultural conservatism. This may also explain why it is associated primarily with the age, educational level, and religiosity of the respondents.


Hans De Witte

Jaak Billiet

Peer Scheepers
Article

Werkloze jongeren: links, rechts of apathisch?

Een onderzoek naar de invloed van werkloosheid op de politieke en maatschappelijke opvattingen van jongeren

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 1989
Auteurs Hans De Witte
Samenvatting

    Our review of the literature shows that only a minority of youngsters shifts to a more extreme (leftist or rightist) political position because of their experience with unemployment. Unemployment deepens the political apathy of the majority of the youngsters. Unemployment isolates youngsters, so they cannot develop any involvement in polities. The"learned-helplessness" experience of unemployment also contributes to their political apathy. In 1985, 536 employed and 220 unemployed were surveyed on their political, socio-economical and religious attitudes, and their voting behaviour. Because the majority of the respondents were militants of the Christian Labour Movement, we expected the unemployed to shift to the left, rather than to become politically apathetic. The results confirm this hypothesis: the unemployed described themselves as "center left", were more radical on socio-economical issues and favored a more leftist vote that the employed. Surprisingly, the unemployed were also more sceptical about religion and more permissive in sexual ethics.


Hans De Witte
Article

Avant-propos

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 1985
Auteurs Wilfried Dewachter en Els Witte

Wilfried Dewachter

Els Witte
Article

Voorwoord

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 1985
Auteurs Wilfried Dewachter en Els Witte

Wilfried Dewachter

Els Witte
Article

Psychologische aspecten van gepersonaliseerde verkiezingen

Perceptie van de persoonlijkheid van de kandidaten en de invloed ervan op het stemgedrag

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 5 1984
Auteurs Hans De Witte en Leo Lagrou
Samenvatting

    This study investigates bath the relationship between evaluation of personality traits of party-leaders and party identification, and the evaluation of personality traits as a determinant of voting behaviour. One month before the Belgian national elections of November 81 201 voters evaluate personality traits of four welt known leaders of the main Flemish political parties. Factor analysis indicated three main dimensions in the evaluation of personality traits of politicians: reliability, expertness and self-control. The personality profiles of every party-leader were quite similar when comparing the profiles of groups of subjects with different party preferences. However, subjects who identificated with a certain party rated the party-leader of this party more favorable on all personality traits than did subjects who identificated with another party. These discrepancies in favorableness were rather small for expertness and selfcontrol, but big for reliability and attractiveness. Analysing determinants of voting behaviour we differentiated four types of voters. Convinced voters were determined mainly by party preference and political views. Policyoriented and routine-voters taak into account in the first instance their political views and secondly their party preference. Personality traits of party-leaders functioned as the main determinant only for the voting behaviour of our indifferent subjects. Between these personality traits, mainly the evaluation of expertness had predictive power.


Hans De Witte

Leo Lagrou
Article

De Europese programma's van Fianna Fail, FDF-RW en Volksunie

Een gemene noemer voor Ierse nationalisten en Belgische federalisten?

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 1979
Auteurs Joan Hart en Bruno De Witte
Samenvatting

    The article compares the attitude of the Irish Fianna Fait, the Flemish Volksunie, and the coalition of the Rassemblement Wallon and the Francophone Brussels' PDF, towards Europe and their programmes for the European elections. These parties do not define themselves on a socio-economic or religious basis, as most of the other European political parties do, but give ideological priority to the ethnic or national factor. Does this imply a common and distinctive attitude to European integration? The answer must be no; they disagree not only on sectoral policies, but their fundamental outlook is different. FDF-RW and VU, on the one hand, though bitter opponents on the national level, both favour a federal Europe, in order to promote autonomy for their respective regions. Fianna Fait on the other hand, white recognizing the political and economic importance of Europe, is sceptical on the institutional level. Fianna Faits approach is essentially pragmatic, being a government party identifying its interests with the national interest, whereas the Belgian federalists cannot identify themselves with the existing Belgian state. Therefore it is unlikely at present that Fianna Fait wilt leave its European allies - the Gaullists - to join a hypothetic regionalist grouping in European Parliament.


Joan Hart

Bruno De Witte
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