CENS Webinar Series on “Age of Rages: Nationalisms”
Nationalisms and the Far Right
Age of Rages: Nationalisms
Webinar 2: Nationalism and the Far Right
Norman Vasu is Senior Fellow and Deputy Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore. He is the author of How Diasporic Peoples Maintain their Identity in Multicultural Societies: Chinese, Africans, and Jews (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008), co-author of Singapore Chronicles: Multiracialism (Institute of Policy Studies and Straits Times Press, 2018), editor of Social Resilience in Singapore: Reflections from the London Bombings (Select Publishing, 2007), co-editor of Nations, National Narratives and Communities in the Asia Pacific (Routledge, 2014), Immigration in Singapore (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), and DRUMS: Distortions, Rumours, Untruths, Misinformation, and Smears (World Scientific Press, 2019). His research on multiculturalism, ethnic relations, narratives of governance, citizenship, immigration, and national security have been published in journals such as Asian Survey, Asian Ethnicity, Journal of Comparative Asian Development and The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, and in a number of edited volumes. He was a Fulbright Fellow with the Center for Strategic Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University in 2012, a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Takshashila Institution, Bangalore, India, in 2016 and at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2018.
Civic Nationalism and the Rise of the Far Right
Far-right parties are on the rise across Europe. Their shared populist rhetoric, emphasis on sovereignty and policies that promote a ‘national preference’ has facilitated the term ‘the new nationalism’. Most existing explanations focus on demand, putting forward different versions of a cultural grievance story underpinned by a common focus on immigration. In this presentation I argue instead that the explanatory power of nationalism is in the supply, i.e. the ways in which parties use nationalism strategically in an attempt to broaden their appeal. Those far right parties that successfully compete within their respective political systems tend to be those best able to tailor their discourse to the liberal and civic characteristics of national identity so as to present themselves and their ideologies as the true authentic defenders of the nation’s unique reputation for democracy, diversity and tolerance. This marks a shift from ‘ethnic’ and ‘nativist’ forms of nationalism traditionally associated with the far right, to the adoption of ‘civic’ narratives which allow far right parties to broaden their appeal beyond their secure voting base by offering ideological rather than biological rationalizations for national belonging.
Daphne Halikiopoulou is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Reading. Her work focuses on nationalism and the cultural and economic determinants of far right party support in Europe. She is the author of The Golden Dawn’s ‘Nationalist Solution’: explaining the rise of the far right in Greece and numerous articles on European far right parties. Her work has been published in the European Journal of Political Research, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Nations and Nationalism and Government and Opposition among others. She has received an award from the American Political Science Association for her work on labour market institutions and far right party support (2016). She is Vice-President of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) and an editor of the journal Nations and Nationalism.
Far-right Ethnonationalism and the Environment: Ecofascism and Beyond
This talk will discuss stances taken by far-right actors towards the natural environment – beginning with a brief look at the historical trajectory of this relation before focusing on contemporary cases and articulations. In contrast to popular belief, concern over environmental degradation has not always been connected to the political left (as they are today), but was closely connected to the political right between the 19th and the 1970s. This talk will introduce the ideological grounds of this connection between ‘the land’ and ‘the people’ in ethnonationalist thinking, both considering recent examples of ‘ecofascism’ and more ‘mainstream’ cases of radical-right actors. The discussion will range from concerns over loss of biodiversity to climate change (scepticism). In so doing, the talk aims to increase awareness of how the ascending far right communicates its ideology through an ‘innocent’ topic such as concern over the natural environment.
Bernhard Forchtner is Associate Professor at the School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester, United Kingdom. Prior to this appointment, he worked at the Institute of Social Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, where he conducted a project on far-right discourses on the environment (funded by the European Commission). He holds a PhD from Lancaster University, United Kingdom, in sociology and linguistics. His research focuses on the far right in Europe, in particular the far right’s articulations of climate change and biodiversity. Recent publications include ‘The Far Right and the Environment: Politics, Discourse and Communication’ (Routledge, 2019), ‘Climate change and the far right’ (in WIREs Climate Change, 2019) and ‘Nation, nature, purity: Extreme-right biodiversity in Germany’ (in Patterns of Prejudice, 2019).
George Hawley is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. His research interests include religion, electoral behavior, political extremism, and the conservative movement in America. He earned his Ph.D in political science from the University of Houston and undergraduate degrees in political science and print journalism from Central Washington University. He is the author of six books on American politics and culture, including Making Sense of the Alt-Right and Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism.