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Pytlas, Bartek (2019): Wettstreit um Deutung: Rechtsradikale Politik und narrativer Parteienwettbewerb am Beispiel der Slowakei und Ungarn. In: Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, Vol. 13, No. 1: pp. 5-31
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In recent decades, radical right politics increasingly entered the political mainstream. Against this background, this contribution explores mechanisms of radical right agency in the political process. Based on extant research it argues that in order to better understand these dynamic and interactive processes we need to expand our optic towards the narrative dimension of party competition between radical right challengers and their conventional competitors. Party competition is not only aspatial contest over ownership of issues, but also acontest over their dominant meaning (frame ownership). The politicization of the so-called refugee crisis' in Slovakia and Hungary after 2015 provides crucial cases to systematically explore framing strategies of radical right challengers and conventional government parties. Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis of online election campaigns provides empirical evidence that conventional parties did not merely' adopt restrictive positions on asylum policy, but also legitimized them with nativist threat narratives. Fidesz in Hungary demonstrates acase where aconventional government party dominated the agenda with its own overarching radical right master frame. Despite these copying strategies, radical and extreme right originals' managed to keep their distinctive feature in party competition by shifting their normalized threat scenarios to other issues of collective identity policy (Slovakia) or by repackaging' nativist frames as allegedly de-ideologized' expert politics (Hungary). The findings have broader implications for researching radical right agenda-setting, framing and competition strategies. The analysis also contributes to adeeper understanding of mainstreaming processes of radical right politics and its impact on European party systems and liberal democracy.