AktuellesFriday, 20. January 2023 New publication: Political challengers and norm erosion in advanced democracies
Dr. Markus Hinterleitner and Dr. Fritz Sager have published their most recent research:
“Political challengers and norm erosion in advanced democracies”
Abstract: How do politicians in advanced democracies get away with violating political norms? Although norm violators confront a powerful establishment that can penalize them, norm violations currently occur in many advanced democracies. This article analyzes the conflicts between norm-violating challengers and established politicians and parties as norm defenders in multiparty systems to contribute to the discipline’s understanding of norm erosion processes. Based on diachronic and synchronic comparisons of conflicts over norm violations in Austria and Germany, the article reveals how political challengers can already damage democratic norms from a position of institutional weakness. Norm violators that make ambiguous provocations and can leverage their previously acquired democratic credentials, can more credibly dispel attempts to stigmatize them as undemocratic. In doing so, they turn the tables on the political establishment and portray its sanctions as a form of ‘excessive retaliation’ that constitutes a norm violation in itself. The article concludes with the unsettling finding that (verbal) norm protection can facilitate norm erosion.