Populism, religion and family values policies in Israel, Italy and Turkey

Ben-Porat, Guy, Filc, Dani, Öztürk, Ahmet Erdi and Ozzano, Luca (2023) Populism, religion and family values policies in Israel, Italy and Turkey. Mediterranean Politics, 28 (2). pp. 155-177. ISSN 1743-9418


There is a growing focus in political science on right-wing populist parties. But few comparative studies address their discourses and politics relating to family values, especially when involved with policy-making. Moreover, many comparative works about populism focus on a single region – often Western and Eastern Europe. This paper adopts a definition of populism with two different dimensions: the vertical (inclusive), which regards elites, and the horizontal (exclusive), which addresses ‘foreigners’. The use of family values in political discourse and policy pertains to the two axes of populism. On the one hand are elites who are accused of being uncommitted to traditional values and morally corrupt. On the other hand are demographic concerns regarding declining birth rates among native populations and immigrants with large families. The stress on family values can also originate from a value orientation – or merely a tactical move – engendered by political competition. This paper specifically examines the politics of family values in the context of policies concerning gender equality, family planning and LGBT rights in three countries: Israel, Italy and Turkey. These countries share a rather strong religious tradition, experienced changes in family orientations and have populist political parties that appeal to religious values. In our comparative study, we explore these developments and the role of family values in the discourses and policies of the Likud and Shas parties in Israel, the Lega and Fratelli d’Italia parties in Italy and the AKP in Turkey.

Populism-and-Religion-second-revisionB.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (392kB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item