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Mobilizing support for the extreme right: A discursive analysis of minority leadership


Maykel Verkuyten, Social Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (e-mail:


This study uses a tripolar model of minority influence to investigate social category constructions of extreme right politicians. The analysis focuses on Geert Wilders, leader of the extreme right Party For Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands. It is examined how this popular politician construes the interdependent relations between himself, the population, and mainstream politicians, and discursively manages his controversial standpoints and proposals. Four parliamentary debates are analysed. The analysis shows that by defining national identity, Wilders invokes a self-image as a prototypical member of the population. Furthermore, and in contrast to other politicians, Wilders works up a self-image of a responsible and realistic politician who is group oriented. In addition, the analysis suggests that being a minority can be of strategic political value and therefore a position to foster. The relevance of the analysis for social psychological approaches to leadership and political minorities is discussed.