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Dieter Rucht is Professor of sociology and was leader of several research groups at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) until June 2011. He worked and conducted research in the USA, UK, and in France. His main interests include political participation, the sociology of the public sphere, social movements and protest. Recent publication (with Donatella della Porta, eds.): Meeting Democracy: Power and Deliberation in Global Justice Movements, Cambridge University Press 2013. Dieter Rucht is founding member of the Institut für Protest- und Bewegungsforschung ipb.
One core element of the right-populist identity construction is drawing a line between the own collectivity (ethnicity, nation-state, Occident, etc.) and "foreigners" who are perceived to be the root of various threats and evils. Against that backdrop, right populists claim to represent authentic will of "the people". However, they can hardly ignore the existence of domestic opponents or even "enemies" such as the ruling class, the elites, the "old parties", and the Left, the uncommitted, etc. To the extent that right-populist mark such boundaries, they risk to be perceived as a minority. In reaction to this, they are caught in a dilemma. Either they elevate themselves as a bold but small vanguard with the risk of becoming sectarian; or they weaken their identity construction to appeal to the broader populace with the risk of becoming more fragmented and eventually falling apart.