Inspired by spatial theories of political behavior and by work on the impact of immigration on national identity, in this article we propose an explanation of the extreme right's claim making based on the interplay of three factors: national models of citizenship, the dynamics of political alignments and party competition, and the strategic/organizational repertoires of the extreme right, in particular the electoral strength of extreme-right parties. Confronting a number of hypotheses derived from this theoretical framework with original data on the extreme right's claim making in five European countries (the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany, and Switzerland), we show how political-institutional and cultural-discursive opportunities account for differences in the extent, forms, and content of xenophobic and extreme-right claim making. Our study shows that national configurations of citizenship affect in significant ways the mobilization of the extreme right, both directly and indirectly. More precisely, our two-country comparison confirms the hypothesis that the claim making of the extreme right depends on a specific political opportunity structure formed by the combination of discursive opportunities deriving from the prevailing model of citizenship and by the political space made available by mainstream parties for far-right mobilization.

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