Giudici, Anja; Gruber, Oliver; Schnell, Philipp; Pultar, Anna
Journal of Contemporary European Studies
Publication year: 2024

Formal education shapes the distribution of opportunities and cultural profile of European societies. Political parties, in turn, play a key role in shaping formal education. Focusing largely on the traditional contenders for government in Europe, research on the politics of education shows that parties prioritise redistributive issues and politicise them in line with their electorates’ material interests. It remains unclear to what extent these findings apply to a more recent, but highly successful party family: the far right. This review article and introduction to a special issue integrates existing scholarship from education and political science with findings from six new case studies from across Europe. It argues that far-right parties in Eastern and Western Europe frame education primarily as a means of disseminating (conservative and nativist) culture and values, rather than as a means of redistributing opportunities. In revaluing the cultural dimension of education for far-right partisan politics, the article and the special issue therefore not only provide insight into the educational strategies of an increasingly powerful actor in European politics, but also shed light on the mechanisms and determinants underlying the partisan dynamics that will contribute to shaping the future of European education and societies more generally.