The making of the exclusionary neoliberal state: far-right populism and economic ideas in post-war Austria

Valentina Ausserladscheider, Department of Economic Sociology, University of Vienna
Economic Policy, Economic Sociology, Economy and Society, Historical and Comparative Sociology, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Political Science, Sociology
Keywords - Economic Policy, Constructivism, Discourse, Populism, Nationalism

The book investigates the rise of exclusionary neoliberalism in Austria, where far-right populism presented a particularly dominant political force throughout the post-war period. Specifically, it shows how the far-right populist Austrian Freedom Party impacted economic policy change from the party´s foundation in 1956 until the party´s last role in government in 2017. The book argues that electorally successful far-right populist parties are not merely the manifestation of citizens´ cultural backlash against rapid value change due to globalization, immigration and multiculturalism. Instead, the book combines cultural and economic explanations for the rise of the far right by showing that cultural and nationalist positions are closely intertwined with the party´s political discourse. By mobilizing the case of Austria, the book reevaluates dominant theories of far-right populism in the literature through a discursive and historical approach, which aims to capture the contingencies and nuances that large-scale
country comparisons cannot capture.
In describing the Austrian Freedom Party´s program and discourse over time and the party´s impact on Austria´s policymaking, the book shows how far-right politicians construct economic interests through a sense of national identity; pride in national products, economic protections of cultural heritage and welfare chauvinism are but a few examples of such constructs. It thereby offers a novel understanding of economic nationalism and its relationship with international economic integration and neoliberalization.
By telling the story of Austrian economic policy change associated with the Austrian Freedom Party in the broader European context, the book offers a state-of-the-art text on Austrian populism. Presenting the political and economic program of the Austrian Freedom Party and its material consequences through electoral support, the book provides a lens to understand how far-right populism shapes a distinctive archetype of state configuration, the neoliberal exclusionary state. The work presented in this book is central to understanding the case of Austria and beyond as it offers insights of how other forms of far-right populism influence economic policies elsewhere.