Date of Graduation

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Patrick Conge

Committee Member

Andrew Dowdle

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Ryan

Keywords

COVID-19, Crisis, Germany, Government, Politics, Populism

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of far-right populist groups in the framing of global health crises. To understand the impact far-right populism has had on the response to health crises, I will be analyzing the case of the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD), or Alternative for Germany, and their response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. I evaluate three distinct time periods in the AfD’s history and determine how the AfD has framed and reframed its crisis narrative in response to the coronavirus compared to previous crises, such as the refugee crisis of 2015. I hypothesize that new crises will lead far-right opposition parties to reframe the prevailing narrative in order to maintain a compelling presence in the public narrative. I also hypothesize that by reframing its crisis response, the opposition party will be more likely to have an impact on electoral success. By using the process tracing method, I find that there is some support for these assumptions, but more research is necessary to determine the effects of right-wing populism on response to health crises.

Available for download on Friday, December 30, 2022

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