Owen-Dunow, M. J. (2015). The Devil Within: The Rise of the Front National. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.1127
This study attempts to empirically investigate the causes behind the Front National’s surprising recent electoral success by analyzing the content of the party’s strategy of dédiabolisation, or “un-deviling”. Specifically, it focuses on determining the extent to which this strategy represents a simple programmatic moderation, a rebranding of its traditional extremist policies, or a more nuanced selective de-radicalization. Through a content analysis of shifts in party rhetoric between 2002 and 2014, several notable trends are uncovered. First, several explosive changes in the usage of specific words point to a reframing of immigration in terms of the allegedly immense societal and financial cost it imposes on French taxpayers, an adjustment in keeping with the party’s populist shift. Second, a striking rise in usage of negatively-charged words belies the view of the “new FN’ as a more moderate version of its former self.