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Neo-Nationalism in Europe and Beyond

Neo-Nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives from Social Anthropology

Andre Gingrich
Marcus Banks
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Neo-Nationalism in Europe and Beyond
    Book Description:

    By the early twenty-first century neo-nationalist forces have established themselves in a number of the world's large regions and subcontinents. From Australia to South Asia, in Eastern and Western Europe, comparable parties and movements have positioned themselves in national parliaments and governments, with some considerable impact on state power. In contrast to right-wing extremist parties in the past, these recent movements mostly operate within legal parliamentary channels, using essentialized notions of local culture to mobilize against real and alleged threats to local identities of status, gender, religion, nationhood and ethnicity.

    Prompted by this near-simultaneous rise to political influence of more than a dozen apparently similar parties across Western Europe, this collection offers a range of European case studies with selected global examples, such as the Front National, the late Pim Fortuyn, India and the BJP, and Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party in Australia. It takes up the theoretical and methodological challenges posed by this phenomenon and asks what distinctive contributions anthropology might make to its study.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-611-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Andre Gingrich and Marcus Banks
  4. Introduction Neo-nationalism in Europe and Beyond
    (pp. 1-26)
    Marcus Banks and Andre Gingrich

    This book has its genesis in a Wenner-Gren sponsored workshop in Brussels – the symbolic and administrative heart of the European Union – in early 2001. Prompted by the near-simultaneous rise to political influence of more than a dozen apparently similar parties across Western Europe, a group of anthropologists from Europe and beyond met to consider the phenomenon and to ask what distinctive contributions anthropology might make to its study. From the outset, Western Europe thus represented a central regional focus of this debate, thereby acknowledging that an assessment of nationalism under the post-socialist conditions prevailing elsewhere in Europe would...

  5. PART I: Concepts and Methods

    • Chapter 1 Nation, Status and Gender in Trouble? Exploring Some Contexts and Characteristics of Neo-nationalism in Western Europe
      (pp. 29-49)
      Andre Gingrich

      Until recently, the new rise in Western Europe of far-right parties was a major issue of public concern. It made headlines in the international media, mass rallies were held against these parties, prominent politicians from mainstream parties frequently issued public warnings about them, official committees were set up to investigate the phenomenon.

      That first period of wider public concern may have passed; it remains, however, for individuals to undertake more profound anthropological analyses of the phenomenon. Anthropologists were among those who initially commented on and criticised the rise to government of these parties. There certainly is nothing wrong with anthropological...

    • Chapter 2 Performing ‘Neo-nationalism’: Some Methodological Notes
      (pp. 50-66)
      Marcus Banks

      Let us begin with two images. The first dates from mid 1997 and is of Geri Halliwell wearing a Union Jack minidress on stage with the Spice Girls of which she was then a member (‘Ginger Spice’). The second dates from mid 2001 and is of two British National Party candidates wearing white gags at Queen Elizabeth Hall in Oldham, in the north of England, as the general election voting results were announced.

      The first image (Fig. 1) is one of several that epitomised ‘Cool Britannia’ in the latter half of the 1990s: an amalgam of journalistic hype, government opportunism...

  6. PART II: Case Studies from Western Europe

    • Chapter 3 Imagined Kinship The Role of Descent in the Rearticulation of Norwegian Ethno-nationalism
      (pp. 69-91)
      Marianne Gullestad

      Since the beginning of the era of the nation state in Europe, there has been a tension between a notion of the nation as the bearer of certain civic and political rights on the one hand, and a popular notion of the nation as ‘the people’ with a particular ancestry, culture, language and history on the other. To build a political nation means constructing a narrative about who belongs and who does not and therefore ultimately depends on a notion of ‘the people’. This is so, in different ways, in both the ‘German’ and the ‘French’ model of the nation....

    • Chapter 4 The Emergence of Neo-nationalism in Denmark, 1992–2001
      (pp. 92-106)
      Peter Hervik

      In November 2001 Denmark went through an election campaign for Folketinget (the Danish Parliament) and local government. The key theme of the campaign leading up to the election on 20 November was immigrants and refugees.

      Here are some quotes and paraphrasings of opinions presented to the press¹ during the months prior to the election:

      ‘Muslims are just waiting for the right moment to kill us.’

      Mogens Camre, MP, Fremskridspartiet (The Progress Party)

      ‘Certain people pose a security risk solely because of their religion, which means that they have to be placed in internment camps.’

      Inge Dahl Sørensen, MP,Venstre (Denmark’s Liberal...

    • Chapter 5 ‘At Your Service!’: Reflections on the Rise of Neo-nationalism in the Netherlands
      (pp. 107-124)
      Thijl Sunier and Rob van Ginkel

      The Netherlands, 6 May 2002. Late afternoon news bulletins report that Pim Fortuyn, leader of the newly established political party List Pim Fortuyn (LPF), has been shot. Soon after, they announce that the 54-year-old former sociology professor has died at the scene of the crime. The alleged murderer, a white animal-rights campaigner, is arrested. People respond with disbelief, abhorrence and shock, and wonder how this is possible in a country that has not witnessed political violence for many years. Fortuyn’s death came just nine days before the Dutch parliamentary elections. Opinion polls had predicted that he would win enough seats...

    • Chapter 6 Neo-nationalism and Democracy in Belgium: On Understanding the Contexts of Neo-communitarianism
      (pp. 125-137)
      Rik Pinxten

      This contribution sketches two contexts that function as background for understanding the substantial rise in popularity of extreme-right political parties and movements in Belgium: the historical context of Belgium as a nation state, and the socio-political context of Belgium as a European country in the present era of globalisation.

      During the past two centuries the nation state has been a primary identity vehicle in Western Europe. Belgium was created in 1830 and the international context at that time was that of European inter-state wars between England, France and Germany. The young Belgian state invested heavily in patriotism in order to...

    • Chapter 7 ‘Being the Native’s Friend Does Not Make You the Foreigner’s Enemy!’ Neo-nationalism, the Freedom Party and Jörg Haider in Austria
      (pp. 138-161)
      Thomas Fillitz

      The 1990s were successful years for the Freedom Party and Jörg Haider, and the decade reached its momentous climax when the party won around 27 percent of the vote at the federal elections of 1999.¹ As a result it became Europe’s largest right-wing populist party, as well as the first to be part of a federal government. Haider was not only the party’s chairman, but also its political motor and the nexus of all its political claims and activities. Youth-oriented and dynamic, antiestablishment, a defender of tradition, with allusions to the Nazi times, he also claims to represent the ‘ordinary...

    • Chapter 8 Neo-nationalism or Neo-localism? Integralist Political Engagements in Italy at the Turn of the Millennium
      (pp. 162-176)
      Jaro Stacul

      This chapter analyses the appearance of the right in Italian politics in the last few years, and sets out to put forward some hypotheses about the connection between the appeal achieved by the right itself and the associations its supporters make between themselves and right-wing ideologies. This transformation, in Italian as well as in European politics, has given way to particularistic forms of identification that are effacing old forms of identity and altering the ways in which people constitute themselves as collective and political subjects. Such forms of identification have the effect of legitimating a political discourse centred on the...

    • Chapter 9 Regarding the Front National
      (pp. 177-196)
      Gerald Gaillard-Starzmann

      In tribute to Rachid Taha and the interpretation of ‘Douce France’ by his group Carte de séjour.

      This chapter begins with the history of the extreme right in France from 1945. It then goes on to examine the evolution of the Front National’s vote and the reasons for the electoral failure of the left. I show how the Socialist Party has, over the years, helped to build a strong Front National (FN) in order to divide its adversaries. I raise the question of the possibility of an alliance between the FN and the right and put forward the thesis that...

  7. PART III: European Perspectives

    • Chapter 10 ‘Healthy Native Soil’ Versus Common Agricultural Policy: Neo-nationalism and Farmers in the EU, the Example of Austria
      (pp. 199-217)
      Gertraud Seiser

      In discussion with colleagues in Vienna one striking assumption comes up again and again: that farmers, of course, are staunch supporters of nationalist and rightwing populist thought. Being rooted in their soil and tradition, particularly those living in mountainous areas, are they not the markers of locality in a globalising world and the very symbol of territoriality?

      In Austria we all know the pictures showing Jörg Haider talking to a mass of sweaty, bawling figures dressed in traditional rural costumes, and letting himself get carried away with highly oversimplifying and polemic rhetoric. Or, standing on a platform, dressed in brown...

    • Chapter 11 New Nationalisms in the EU: Occupying the Available Space
      (pp. 218-234)
      Maryon McDonald

      I recall my early days of fieldwork in European institutions in the 1990s. I tried to make a joke but it did not go down well. I was discussing the visit of the British Queen to the Parliament with European Parliament officials, one of whom is now an MEP. There was some deliberation about what might be a good metaphor in a speech to convey the unity of the Parliament, Europe and this sovereign. Perhaps the ‘family’, it was suggested. ‘Divorce’, I retorted cheerily, and then added feebly that, of course, I did not really mean that member states should...

  8. PART IV: Global Perspectives

    • Chapter 12 Neo-nationalism in India: A Comparative Counterpoint
      (pp. 237-247)
      Mukulika Banerjee

      Aggressive nationalism, expressed through mainly religious (Hindu) discourse, is now a well-established political phenomenon in India. In one incarnation (the parliamentary Bharatiya Janata Party) it has captured control of the federal government, ruling from 1998 until May 2004. In this chapter I outline its main ideas and organisational forms before considering whether it is really ‘neo’ and how it compares with the European experience. These comments, I hope, usefully counterpoint the other examples in this volume.

      The intellectual origins of the Hindu right wing lie in the early twentieth century.¹ Its ancestral ideologue, V.D. Savarkar, sought an oppositional response to...

    • Chapter 13 Nationalism and Neo-populism in Australia: Hansonism and the Politics of the New Right in Australia
      (pp. 248-268)
      Bruce Kapferer and Barry Morris

      On 20 August 2003, Pauline Hanson was sentenced to a three-year jail term for the fraudulent registration of the One Nation Party in Queensland. This appears as the final chapter in a rake’s progress in which the astonishing, if brief, rise of a political unknown of modest background, which threatened the political hegemony of the ruling parties and gave vent in public discourse to values that contradicted a postmodern, multicultural image of post-colonial Australia, ended in disgrace, criminal conviction and imprisonment. Hanson was convicted of the kind of dishonest practice of which she and her followers routinely accused the ruling...

  9. PART V: Afterthoughts

    • Afterthoughts
      (pp. 271-282)
      Ulf Hannerz

      My country, Sweden, does not figure prominently in the preceding chapters, so let me begin these concluding comments by recalling that fairly brief period in the early 1990s when the party Ny Demokrati, ‘New Democracy’, made an appearance on the Swedish political stage.¹ Suddenly it was there – the product of a seemingly rather unlikely alliance between two individuals, both already fairly prominent on the national scene, although without very noticeable prior involvement in party politics. One was Ian Wachtmeister, from an aristocratic family, with connections to the royal court and no longer so successful in business, although he had...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 283-287)
  11. Subject Index
    (pp. 288-296)
  12. Name Index
    (pp. 297-303)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 304-304)